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Forty Army Reservists Re-enlist on Capitol Steps

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2006 – Swearing to defend the U. S. Constitution, 40 Army Reservists re-enlisted yesterday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building here.

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Army Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, speaks at a re-enlistment ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, April 6. Photo by Steven Donald Smith

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"These great American heroes swear and affirm that they will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic," Army Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, said at the ceremony. "The reading of the oath only lasts but a minute, but their pledge will last a lifetime."

The re-enlisting soldiers come from all walks of life. The group includes a teacher, a youth pastor, a computer technician, a police officer, a retail representative and a student. Many of are veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and some are Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipients. The ceremony highlighted the positive re-enlistment trend among Army Reservists. In fiscal 2005, re-enlistments by Army Reserve soldiers reached 101.5 percent of the goal, according to an Army Reserve news release.

Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Wilson, one of those who re-enlisted yesterday, lost her left hand in Iraq on Aug. 21, 2004, when a roadside bomb detonated under her vehicle. She was treated for her injury at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and now serves as a supply sergeant in the Active Guard Reserve Program.

Wilson said she was very proud that Army officials determined she was capable to continue to serve after her injury.

"I'm very humbled by the fact that my senior leaders deem me fit for duty," she told American Forces Press Service. "The Army believes, as I believe, that I can make a difference and be a leader and continue my military career -- and do an outstanding job at it."

Wilson said she feels that the Army is where she belongs. "It's almost like I was born and bred to be a soldier. This is my life, this is what I love, this is where I want to be, this is my family," she said.

Staff Sgt. Aaron Knudson, of Rockford, Ill., said he re-enlisted because he felt "a duty to the country, and a responsibility to protect Americans and my family."

Also re-enlisting was Sgt. Joshua Frey, of Cleveland, Ohio, who said he wanted to continue his service with the 762nd Transportation Company "so that I can keep the training tradition alive, and train up the younger soldiers who are coming in, so that they're combat-ready to keep defending this great nation."

Frey's civilian job is as a police officer. He has been in the Army Reserve for six years. During his deployment to Iraq, his main job was to drive a truck for the 762nd.

"I think the people of Iraq appreciate what we're doing there, even if that seems hard to believe sometimes," Frey said.

Staff Sgt. Magdalena Rodriguez, of Hinesville, Ga., also re-enlisted, saying that she felt it was her duty.

"It was my duty to do so. I love the uniform and I love the Army. They've always been really good to me and I've had really great leaders," Rodriguez said. "There's no better job to come to than the one that the whole country thanks you for."

Rodriguez is currently mobilized with the 87th Training Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., where she prepares soldiers for mobilization. Later this month Rodriquez will become a U.S. citizen.

Helmly dedicated the re-enlistment ceremony to Army Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, a reservist who went missing April 9, 2004, during an attack on his convoy in Iraq. Maupin is classified as captured, and is the only servicemember missing from operations in Iraq.

"We call upon our enemies to release him and treat him humanely," Helmly said. "Sgt. Maupin knows that we will live the warrior ethos -- 'I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, we will never leave a fallen comrade.'"

Other soldiers who participated in the ceremony were:

  • Sgt. Katherine Ahlrichs, of Kenosha, Wis.
  • Sgt. Koley Anthony, of Garland, Texas.
  • Sgt. John Conklin, of Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Sgt. Aaron Copland, of Kelso, Wash.
  • Sgt. Jessica Corino, of Lawton, Okla.
  • Staff Sgt. Bach Dang, of Harvey, La.
  • Sgt. Mark Dey, of Rochester, N.Y.
  • Sgt. Matthew Erickson, of Page, N.D.
  • Staff Sgt. Daniel Fairfield, of El Paso, Texas
  • Spc. Polo Fruean
  • Sgt. Sabrina Gouthier, of Columbia, S.C.
  • Sgt. Cordon Green, of Waldorf, Md.
  • Staff Sgt. Eric Herrera, who lives in Germany.
  • Sgt. Jane Hillier, of Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Staff Sgt. Steven Hopkins
  • Staff Sgt. Shawn Hounschell, of Monroe, Ga.
  • Sgt. Tarah Jackson, of Richmond, Va.
  • Sgt. James Lindstrand, of Sedrowolley, Wash.
  • Staff Sgt. Ann Mais, of Appleton, Wis.
  • Sgt. Omar Marquez, of St. Just, Puerto Rico.
  • Spc. Shwanda McNeil, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Sgt. Jose Mendoza, of Steilacoom, Wash.
  • Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Olson, of Wakeeney, Kan.
  • Sgt. Josefina Pozos, of Pamona, Calif.
  • Spc. Christopher Price, of Lubbock, Texas.
  • Spc. Nabori Ramirez, of Everett, Mass.
  • Spc. Adrian Rentas, of Willingboro, N.J.
  • Spc. Onellys Riveria-Nelson of La Gloriatrujilloalto, Puerto Rico.Sgt. Daisy Robles, of Monroeville, N.J.
  • Staff Sgt. Timely Ross, of Dallas, Texas.
  • Staff Sgt. Brigette Sebial, of Hawthorne, Calif.
  • Sgt. David Taylor
  • Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Ulrich, of Elbow Lake, Minn.
  • Staff Sgt. Nicholas Veal, of Marietta, Ga.
  • Sgt. Ashley Westermann, of Scribner, Neb.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Darryl Zuchelli, of Gadsden, Ala.
Contact Author

Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, USA

Related Sites:
Army Reserve

Click photo for screen-resolution imageA group of 40 Army Reservists take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution at a re-enlistment ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, April 6. Photo by Steven Donald Smith  
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