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Col. James Yastrzemsky, center, commander of U.S. Army Benelux Garrison, conducts a re-enlistment ceremony during the opening of the Chièvres Air Fest June 25, 2022 at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. (U.S. Army photo by Libby Weiler, USAG Benelux Public Affairs)
(Photo credit: Libby Weiler)


Chièvres Air Fest re-registration ceremony

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U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Military Police soldiers salute during the opening ceremony of the Chièvres Air Fest June 25, 2022 at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. Three USAG Benelux soldiers renewed their service commitments to the army at the air fest. (U.S. Army photo by Libby Weiler, USAG Benelux Public Affairs)
(Photo credit: Libby Weiler)


CHIÈVRES AIR BASE, Belgium – Three soldiers from the U.S. Army Benelux Garrison renewed their service commitments to the military during the Chièvres Air Fest on June 25, 2022.

Staff Sgt. Devon Bowman, NCO in charge of operations at USAG Benelux – Brussels; sergeant. Christopher Arcia, traffic management and collision investigator at Chièvres Air Base; and the sergeant. Christian Reim, a military police patrolman at Tower Barracks Dülmen, Germany, re-enlisted in the military as part of the Air Fest opening ceremony.

USAG Benelux Commander Col. James Yastrzemsky thanked the soldiers for sharing their special moment with the attendees and addressed the audience before beginning with the enlistment oath.

“The United States military has been an all-volunteer force since 1973,” he said. “We had young men and women who raised their right hands and pledged allegiance to the American Constitution, to stay committed to our values ​​and our ways of life, and it is always inspiring every time we participate in the one of these ceremonies. .”

Yastrzemski continued:

“I’m looking at some Best Warriors, a senior NCO – so that’s exactly who we want to re-enlist, to stay in our military. So thanks!”

Although backgrounds and motivations vary, the common themes of service, family and being part of something bigger than oneself have resonated with every soldier who has rededicated themselves to their career in the military. army.


“My dad was in the military — not too long — but I remember when I was going as a kid on the base, so it was always kind of there,” Bowman said. “I guess that’s where it might have started.”

Bowman joined and began his career first in the artillery. In 2013, he was considering parting ways to pursue his long-term career aspirations in law enforcement. Bowman’s wife became pregnant around the same time, and the possibility of reassignment became an option, altering Bowman’s decision to remain in the military.

“I like the morale of the army and the structure,” he said. “You protect your friends, family and everyone in America – I feel like it’s a good thing to do and an organization to be a part of.”

Bowman, the oldest of the three soldiers, served more than eleven years. He is on his fifth posting and is preparing to change positions permanently this month. He shares some advice for those considering the military.

“Find the job you want, pick something you really like, and don’t do it based on someone else’s experience.” says Bowman. “Do what you want to do and something you love to do. Reclassification isn’t always an option, and at the end of the day, you have to love what you do.

It’s advice that has served Bowman well, re-enlisting “indefinitely,” doing a job he loves.

” I will continue ; it will take me up to 20 years.


“I wanted to be a police officer right out of high school, but I didn’t have the necessary college and realized that wasn’t my path,” Arcia said. “I joined the military for college, experience, and (to work in) law enforcement.”

Arcia explained that within his family he is a first generation soldier. Seeking independence after high school and the opportunity to fulfill his goal of working in law enforcement, he enlisted and left for the military a week after his 18th birthday.

Seven years later, Arcia counts his wife and current and past leaders as inspiration for his continued service.

“Twenty years in the military – I haven’t always seen that as my future – but my wife thinks I can do great things in the military.”

As a military police soldier herself, it’s fair to assume that Arcia’s wife, Staff Sgt. Julia Dittman, understands her work first hand. Dittman is currently assigned to Allied Forces North Battalion at SHAPE, and according to Arcia, “she’s kicking my ass, she’s ahead of the game and actually in Missouri right now finishing her advanced leader course.”

“I also had several leaders who instilled confidence in me, reassured me that I am capable of doing great things,” Arcia continued. “I want to push my limits and give the best of myself.”

Looking to the future, Arcia hopes to move her career in the military towards physical training or nutrition. Until then, Arcia relies on his wife, his leaders, and his personal motto: Am I okay?

“I ask myself a question, ‘Am I okay?’ I remember what drives me to get from point A to point B – sometimes it’s not about having your daily motivation but about seeing the bigger picture – the drive to take you where you need to be.


“I’ve wanted to enlist since I can remember,” Reim said. “I feel like one of the reasons I joined my country in the first place – its culture, your family, your friends, the way you were raised – if you grow up there (military life) , you’re more used to it.”

For Reim, his family’s military service spans generations.

“My grandfather served in the army as a sergeant major, my father was in the German navy, so I have a long line of family on both sides who serve.” said Reim. “Funny enough, my dad is from the area I’m in, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)!”

Even with a family connection to NRW, Reim knew very little about the Dülmen Tower barracks before he arrived three years ago.

“It’s a different world here – different life, different culture, everything is different – and it takes some getting used to, especially if you came here alone,” he said. “When you’re four o’clock from the mast, you have to rely on each other because if you don’t, you’re going to be lost. Fortunately, we are a community within a Benelux community.

It is this sense of community, the continued desire to serve and do the work he always wanted to do from the beginning that continues to motivate Reim and served as a catalyst for his re-engagement.

“Some days it’s a little more rewarding than others, but most of the time I’m doing what I signed up for.” said Reim. “I’ve been in the Benelux for almost three years and part of my re-engagement included the possibility of staying in the Benelux for another three years – that’s exactly what I wanted!”


For more information on Army Values, the Oath of Enlistment, or to learn “How to Enlist”, visit:

• LINK “Army Values”

• LINK “Oath of enlistment”

LINK “How to register”