1st Brigade Combat Team Journalist
Leaders of 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment recognized and honored several Soldiers for extending their service contracts through 1st Brigade Combat Team’s upcoming deployment during a special breakfast ceremony July 23.
After the breakfast, 32 troopers each received a certificate of appreciation from the battalion’s command team, Lt. Col. John Paganini and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Oldroyd. By taking part in the Army’s new Deployment Incentive Extension Program, the Soldiers receive an additional $500 per month. This extra pay kicks in after their actual enlistment service contract ends and continues until their extension is complete. One Soldier who took advantage of this incentive is Spec. Joseph Anderson, an infantryman with C Troop. Anderson said he decided to extend in order to spend another deployment with the unit.
“I am going to re-enlist eventually and move to another post, but for now I will stay here,” he said. “I want to finish this third and last deployment with 1-71.”Anderson, who grew up a “Navy brat,” joined the Army nearly four years ago. He said he may want to go the distance and make a career out of the military for himself as well. The benefits of the program were just a plus for him.
“I didn’t even know about the benefits,” Anderson said. “I just knew I wanted to stay in the Army. All the extra stuff was just an added bonus.”Before presenting certificates, Oldroyd said how much it meant to him to see so many Soldiers extend their contracts, fully knowing what they are about to face.“In my 24 years of being in the Army, I have decided I love being a Soldier and I love everything we stand for,” Oldroyd said. “What blows me away every day is the young Soldiers (who) come in and feel that same way.”
Oldroyd explained that the Deployment Incentive Extension Program was developed to replace stop-loss. Initially, the Army expected some 23 percent of Soldiers to re-enlist and serve another tour.
“Our unit has had between 55 and 60 percent of our Soldiers take advantage of this,” Oldroyd said to his troops. “This is awesome – you are awesome.”Following the ceremony, Paganini echoed Oldroyd’s words of thanks. “You guys who have extended make my job a whole lot easier,” he said. “We can’t replace any of you or your Family Members.”
Before the ceremony came to an end, Paganini expressed to his troops what their actions meant to him.
“As a professional, as a Soldier and as a man, I cannot thank you enough for what you have done,” he said.
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