Face of Defense: Artilleryman Re-enlists for T-shirt
By Army Spc. Creighton Holub
Special to American Forces Press Service
AMARAH, Iraq, Aug. 19, 2008 Forget money. Forget choice of duty station. Forget everything but the T-shirt.
Army Pfc. Jacob McHenry, a forward observer assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, guides a Humvee to a tactical parking position off the road in Amarah, Iraq, July 31, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Creighton Holub, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Believe it or not, the T-shirt for re-enlisting on the front lines was the only incentive Pfc. Jacob McHenry wanted prior to signing up for an additional three years in the Army.
“The Army is too easy for me, and I have no reason to get out,” said the 18-year-old forward observer from Monroe, La., assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. “But it’s really hard to change my [military occupational specialty], because there’s not a lot of people in my MOS.”
The artilleryman expressed no desire to find a new job; right now, he’s the “go-to” guy when attack aviation assets are around.
“This is completely different than doing anything in ‘normal’ artillery,” he explained. “Talking to Longbow Apache helicopter pilots is different than anything else in the artillery branch. I have to take into consideration air-to-ground integration and put myself into the pilot’s position. I have to create a clear picture in their minds before they can attack the enemy.”
“It’s great having him, because he has training related to artillery rounds,” said 1st Lt. Trevor Jones, a Houston native and Company A’s 3rd Platoon leader. “It helps to have someone who has more knowledge, and he can pass it down to my other soldiers as well.”
The leaders in his unit are happy to have McHenry in their ranks assisting as the Iraqi security forces take the lead in combat operations on the streets of Amarah.
“He’s extended his time in the Army, so we know he’s committed to doing what he’s here for,” Jones said.
In addition to the re-enlistment T-shirt, McHenry received a $7,500 cash bonus for re-enlisting through July 2013. He also reaped brigade-specific re-enlistment incentives, such as picking his own guaranteed vacation time, a pair of four-day trips to Qatar, and getting the first flight home at the end of the deployment. He also has the opportunity to complete more civilian education upon returning to Fort Hood.
(Army Spc. Creighton Holub serves in the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)