American Soldiers Explain Decision to Re-Up

Soldiers who re-enlist, returning for tours of duty in Iraq, often cite patriotism, duty, and the need to protect their homeland from terrorism when asked why they've re-upped. They also describe being part of a "committed brotherhood to defend the constitution and the people who cannot defend themselves." Producer Eric Whitney of member station KRCC offers a sound montage from a visit to a re-enlistment ceremony at Ft. Carson, Colo., in early May.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

In this country the army is struggling to meet its goals for recruiting new soldiers, but it is ahead of the game when it comes to reenlistments.

In the last seven months of fiscal year 2006 more than 80,000 soldiers signed up for another hitch, that's well above the army's goal. Recently 640 soldiers just back from Iraq reenlisted en masse in a ceremony at Fort Carson, Colorado.

Eric Whitney of member station KRCC in Colorado Springs was there and sent this audio postcard.

Unidentified Men: (Unintelligible) defend the constitution of the United States of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic against all enemies foreign and domestic (Unintelligible)...

BLOCK: It is our pleasure to introduce the 71st Colonel of Third Armored Calvary Regiment, the brave rifles, Colonel H.R. McMaster.

MCMASTER: We are here to honor troopers of this great regiment who have answered our nation's call to duty in time of war. As you know our regiment has just returned from Iraq and the vast majority of these troopers are veterans of combat tours, many of them two combat tours.

THOMAS VAN OVERMEER: Staff Sergeant Thomas Van Overmeer (unintelligible) 13ACR. I'm a platoon (unintelligible) in a tank company.

ERIC WHITNEY: Do you want to go do more tours?

VAN OVERMEER: Personally no, but if called upon then I definitely will without question.

ANTHONY SAULPRIESTER: Saulpriester, Anthony, I'm a gunner in a tank company, from (unintelligible) North Carolina. I reenlisted because I'm part of a committed brotherhood. I defend the Constitution. I defend people who can't defend themselves. I know this is what we do. I put my life for this country, for my Constitution, for my family, for my brothers.

LANAE LUPE: Specialist Lupe, my first name's Lanae. I'm with 63 Bravo, a mechanic from White River, Arizona. That's on the Fort Apache Indian reservation. My mom she kind of had her doubts and, you know, but for the most part my whole family, they're pretty supportive. My uncle was in the Army and I have a grandfather who was in the Marines. And, well I'm the first female from my family to join the military and they've been really supportive. It was a huge honor for me to get their blessing and okay for all this.

AARON SIGLER: For me, I love my job. I love the Army life. Specialist Sigler, first name Aaron. I'm from St. James, Minnesota. My dad was in the Army, my grandfather was in the Army so it's, you know, part of my family heritage and as far as the Third Armored Calvary goes it's going to go down in history as what we did in Iraq and it makes me feel good about myself to be a part of that and I would just want to continue that out.

There's good and bad in everything you do in life and for me there was more good than bad. You know, we did so much for the people in Telfair, Iraq that, you know, just filled me with so much pride for not only my unit, but my country that I just want to continue to do that and train other people to be able to do that.

MCMASTER: Because of their combat experience these troopers will be invaluable to our Army and the soldiers who they will lead in the future. Please join me in giving these great troopers, their spouses, and their children a round of applause.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

GROUP: ...Vie for the right and (unintelligible) and the army goes rolling along...

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