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Why I Serve: Service to Country, Family

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2004 – "I joined the Army not only to serve this country, but because I had an obligation to my family," said Army Pfc. Richard Abrams.

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Army Pfc. Richard Abrams, of Headquarters Command Battalion, Fort Myer, in Arlington, Va., said he joined not only to serve this country, but also because "I had an obligation to my family." Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"I have to be honest, joining the Army was a way to provide for my family, help out my country, and to really build a good long-term career."

"I give the Army what they ask of me, and they take care of me. It's a win-win situation for everybody, honestly."

About a year ago, the Army put Abrams, a food-service specialist, on compassion reassignment, relocating his wife and two sons, to Fort Myer, Va., from duty in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. He said that unit came down on deployment orders for Iraq.

The move brought the family closer to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington where his oldest son, Charles, 6, could get specialized treatment for a variety of mental disorders, which Abrams described as "lifelong."

While his son goes through treatment here, Abrams said he often thinks of his comrades in his old 10th Mountain Division unit and tries to keep up with friends in Iraq through e-mail.

"They haven't said much, other than it's hot and dry," he said. "It seems like over there cooks are not doing as much of the cooking as they are running other errands."

Abrams said that if the Army calls him to rejoin his unit, he is prepared to do so. He said the Army will take care of his family.

"I know the military has got services there so that my wife and kids will be supported if I'm needed to go, which honestly makes me a lot more comfortable," he said. "I know there are enough support services in the system."

Abrams said that the support the Army has provided for him and his family is one of the things he appreciates most about serving in the military.

And it's also why he said that he is proud to serve. "The Army has helped me out tremendously," he said.

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