Sunday, July 13, 2008

Houston native reenlists during mass ceremony in Baghdad

AL-ASAD, Iraq (July 9, 2008) – A Houston native recently participated in a mass reenlistment ceremony at Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad July 4.

Marine Sgt. Patsy M. Lee, an imagery analyst with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), was one of more than 1,200 service members who reaffirmed their allegiance to their nation by raising their right hands and once again stating the Oath of Enlistment.

Led by Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of Multi-National Force – Iraq, the largest reenlistment ceremony in history took place in one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces.

“This was a totally awesome way to reenlist,” said Lee. “I wouldn’t have chosen any other way. Being one of the 1,215 people to reenlist on the Fourth of July by General Patraeus felt like being a special collector’s item.”
The MNF-I commander, along with Command Sergeant Major Marvin L. Hill, the MNF-I command sergeant major, kicked off the event by addressing the service members with words of motivation and praise.

“It is great to celebrate our nation’s independence here with you and it is a true honor to preside over this reenlistment ceremony,” said Petraeus, who received a standing ovation from the audience upon his introduction. “There’s no place I’d rather be to celebrate America’s birthday than right here with you in Iraq.”
Petraeus noted the dedication each individual exemplified with their re-commitment and expressed his gratitude for their service.

“You understand the service and the sacrifice to which you are committing today,” said Petraeus. “It is impossible to calculate the value of what you are giving to our country.”

Lee took all that into consideration when making her decision to reenlist.
“If you had asked me to reenlist a year ago, I would have said ‘no way’ because of the amount of time I have spent away from my family,” said Lee. “However, since being on this deployment I have seen my work in action and how much I affect the overall state of this war. It is an awesome feeling to know that I greatly contribute to the safety of our Marines.”

As an imagery analyst, Lee provides important feedback on imagery collected throughout the country.

The imagery helps mission commanders in planning and carrying out operations.
“While looking at pictures for most people is more about memories and capturing special moments, I look at pictures to help save the lives of our personnel,” said Lee. “My job requires keen observation of imagery to ensure the safety of our pilots and ground troops.”

She has been deployed to Al Asad Air Base in the western Anbar province of Iraq since January of 2008 and is scheduled to return to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., in early 2009.

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