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Patriotic Article
War and Tragedy

By Army Spc. Andrew Ingram

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'Steadfast And Loyal' Soldier Reenlists In The Skies Of Iraq
(March 3, 2011)

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CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq (February 25, 2011) – Twelve hundred feet above the deserts and palm groves of northern Iraq, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Bailey, deputy-commanding general, maneuver, 4th Infantry Division and U.S. Division-North, administered the Oath of Enlistment to Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Gabel, during a unique reenlistment ceremony in a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, Feb. 19.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Bailey, deputy commanding general, maneuver, 4th Infantry Division and U.S. Division-North, administers the Oath of Enlistment to Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Gabel, psychological operations planner, Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Inf. Div., during a reenlistment ceremony held in a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in the skies over northern Iraq, Feb. 19, 2011. Bailey said Gabel is the first soldier he has reenlisted since being promoted to brigadier general. Gabel, who hails from Littleton, Colo., said reenlisting in a unique way gave him a special memory of his deployment with the 4th Inf. Div.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Bailey, deputy commanding general, maneuver, 4th Infantry Division and U.S. Division-North, administers the Oath of Enlistment to Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Gabel, psychological operations planner, Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Inf. Div., during a reenlistment ceremony held in a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in the skies over northern Iraq, Feb. 19, 2011. Bailey said Gabel is the first soldier he has reenlisted since being promoted to brigadier general. Gabel, who hails from Littleton, Colo., said reenlisting in a unique way gave him a special memory of his deployment with the 4th Inf. Div.
Gabel, a psychological operations planner assigned to Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, who hails from Littleton, Colo., said he chose to conduct the ceremony in the skies above northern Iraq because he wanted to make his career reenlistment a memorable event.

Having the honor of being the first soldier, Bailey reenlisted since being promoted to brigadier general in January is the “icing on the cake,” Gabel said.

“I have reenlisted twice before, and the first two times were very low-key,” Gabel explained. “Right now I'm a staff non-commissioned officer in Iraq, so the coolest pictures I'm going to get to send to my Family are of me reenlisting with the newest general in the 4th Infantry Division.”

By committing at least eight more years of service, Gabel volunteered to continue his
career as an NCO in the Army.
 Gabel said he chose to dedicate the next chapter of his life to the Army because he loves being a soldier, and military life is the best thing for himself and his family. A career reenlistment is a tremendous commitment for a soldier and his family, said Bailey.

Gabel's dedication to his country and fellow soldiers places him above many of his peers, and seeing NCOs like Gabel stay in the Army is truly an honor, Bailey said.

Deployed as part of the “Ironhorse” Division staff in support of Operation New Dawn, Gabel said he looks forward to becoming a platoon sergeant, training and mentoring soldiers to accomplish the mission, wherever that may be.

Gabel, currently serving his seventh deployment, said the Army has contributed greatly to his development as an NCO and a person.

“Who I am now, what I am doing as a soldier, I owe to all the NCOs—good and bad—that I had as a young soldier,” he said. “They all taught me something, and I owe it to them to pass on the knowledge I gained during my 12 years service to the soldiers who will one day take my place.”

Gabel said his love of service strengthened through the years, as he progressed in his career as a soldier and a leader, and credited the support of his Family in his decision to stay Army.

“My wife is still learning and constantly adapting to military life, but she understands that this is my career,” he said. “She understands the responsibilities I have as a soldier and NCO to my soldiers, my unit and the country.”

Family support is essential to a successful military career, said Gabel, acknowledging the challenges accompanying a career soldier, multiple deployments and, at times, the uncertainty of what comes next.

“Being separated from my family can be really tough—for all of us, but knowing that I have my loved ones and their unyielding support waiting for me at home gets me through.”

After the reenlistment ceremony, Bailey gave Gabel a surprise reenlistment bonus. Upon returning to Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Gabel and the Blackhawk crew took to the sky again, this time to the areal gunnery range where Gabel strafed targets with 7.62 rounds fired from an M240B machine gun.

Gabel said now that he has “checked the block” on the next step in his military career, he looks forward to successfully completing his mission in support of Operation New Dawn with honor and pride.
Article and photo by Army Spc. Andrew Ingram
Headquarters, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs
Copyright 2011

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