On Wednesday morning, more than 400 Fort Carson vowed to stay in the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. The soldiers re-enlisted for an additional four years, but they can commit from two years to an indefinite period of time.
The 3ACR hit more than 230 percent of its fourth quarter goal for enlistments. Many of these soldiers have already served a year in Iraq and understand that they may be going back. Many say, that is exactly why they re-enlisted.
One soldier says, "I will never except defeat. I will never quit."
The soldiers' families support their decision to re-enlist, despite the danger that might lie ahead of them. Donelle Yates, a soldier's wife, says, "Very bitter sweet. Proud of what he's doing and the decision he has made. We made it as a family, but ultimately, I've always said, it's his decision"
Other soldiers we spoke to are very excited about the pending deployment: "I just get a lot of pride in what I do---know I do the best I can for my country." "We went over with a group of guys to Iraq. When we came home, each and everyone brought each other back. We're going back. I'm not going without them. They're not going to go without me. It is more of a brotherhood."
The re-enlisted soldiers will be given a $10,000 to $15,000 bonus for the extra years. COL H.R. McMaster says that the re-enlistment is not about the bonus, instead he says, "what this demonstrates is how close knit our unit is a team and demonstrates how dedicated they are in serving the nation."
The soldiers agree that the decision to re-enlist was easy. One says, "I just still want to serve my country."
Fort Carson sent more than 13,000 troops to Iraq last year. It was the base's largest deployment since World War II. 45 soldiers from Fort Carson have died in Iraq, and more than 500 have been wounded.