ARIFJAN, Kuwait – In front of a host nation's historical landmark, two 42nd Infantry Division Soldiers stand side-by-side, showcasing their devotion to their community, state and nation.
In front of the Kuwait Martyr's Museum, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. A. Jared Forst and U.S. Army Sgt. Becca Meerwarth administered their oath of service as they re-enlisted in the New York Army National Guard while deployed to the Middle East to support Operation Spartan Shield.
"Raise your right hand and repeat after me," said Col. Sean Flynn, the Task Force Spartan Chief of Staff, as he administered the oath to both Soldiers.
These two Soldiers re-enlisted for six more years in the NYARNG in their respective military occupational specialty, Forst as a Joint Fires Noncommissioned Officer and Meerwarth as a Human Resources Noncommissioned Officer.
"I re-enlisted to continue my career," said Meerwarth. "I love being part of something greater than myself. I wouldn't be where I am today without the Army. It has given me a job, a purpose and another family."
As part of the NYARNG, both Meerwarth and Forst deployed with the 42nd Infantry Division in support of Task Force Spartan Shield.
"This was not my first deployment," said Forst. "I deployed first with the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, New York. Re-enlisting at the end of this deployment is the perfect way to cap it off."
Both Soldiers spent their time deployed with the 42nd Infantry Division's Command Group working with all three General Officers, the Division Command Sgt. Maj., and Chief of Staff.
"I learned a lot during this deployment about my job," said Meerwarth. "I was able to do a lot, including getting my combat patch."
Meerwarth took part in a Mobile Command Post Operation in the Kingdom of Jordan, which is designated as a combat zone, doing her job with the support of only two other Soldiers from the Command Group.
While deployed, Meerwarth and Forst worked directly for Flynn in the command suite in Kuwait.
"Col. Flynn has been great and encouraging," said Meerwarth. "He supported me and took care of me, checking in on me and my home life."
Flynn coordinated for the reenlistment ceremony to happen during a staff ride event traveling to Kuwait's Martyr's Museum.
"It was truly humbling to be there," said Forst. "The men who died there committed to their country, and with that in mind, we wanted to make a commitment to our country."
The reasons Soldiers re-enlist are often varied as everyone's job and experience are different.
"I have been set up for success," said Forst. "I want the additional time in the Army to mentor my Soldiers and to master more of my field."
Both Soldiers were awarded challenge coins for excellence during their deployment, along with the Army Commendation Medal.
"Every SGS section needs a Sgt. Meerwarth," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Spencer, the Deputy Commander for Support for Task Force Spartan. "She is approachable, which is good, and this coin is a small sign of our appreciation of you."
"You have one of the hardest jobs in the division," said Command Sgt. Maj. Corey Cush, the Senior Enlisted Leader of Task Force Spartan, during Forst's coining ceremony. "You have done outstanding work here."
These two Soldiers will continue to serve in the Central Command area of responsibility until they are redeployed to upstate New York.
"I see great potential in you both," said Flynn.