CAMP LEMIONER, Djibouti -- An Airman from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, re-enlisted ceremony here at the exact time and day the Pentagon was struck by Flight 77 two years ago to commemorate all who have served and died since September 11.
Two years ago, Air Force Staff Sgt. Carey E. Dvorak II was stationed on an Air Force Base in South Korea working at the Network Control Center. He was up late trying to get the server working when he walked past a group of people watching TV. The scene of planes hitting the World Trade Center caught his eye and he inquired as to what movie they were watching. When he was told it wasn't a movie, that's when everything hit him.
"We all stood there at the Network Control Center and watched everything unfold in front of our faces," said Dvorak, information insurance technician with CJTF-HOA. "There was such a flow of emotions. First I was worried about my family, then I was worried about all the people that were killed and trapped when the towers went down and the Pentagon was struck. On top of all that, I felt helpless because I was stuck in Korea and couldn't do anything about it."
Since then, Dvorak, who is making the Air Force a career, said his life changed and he found a new appreciation for things he took for granted before Sept. 11th.
"Something like that makes you appreciate your family and friends more because you never really know what's going to happen," said Dvorak. "It brings a lot of things into focus that we probably took for granted prior to 9-11.
"On top of all of that, I think it made me prouder to be in the military," continued Dvorak. "The American public had never really been attacked like that before. Now they have a stronger appreciation for what we do in the military. Knowing the American public is looking at us, now more than ever, to take care of the people that were responsible for 9-11 makes me very proud to serve in the military."
The idea to reenlist on September 11th was actually suggested by Dvorak's wife a couple of days prior to his leaving to join the CJTF. Dvorak said everything he's done in his career has had meaning behind it, so the suggestion to re-enlist on September 11th made perfect sense.
However, the choice to reenlist at the exact time of the plane hitting the Pentagon had a more personal meaning to Dvorak.
"Reenlisting on 9-11 is a tribute to those who have served, are serving, and those that have died from everything that has come after 9-11," said Dvorak. "I actually picked 4:45 p.m. local time as my reenlistment time because it's 9:45 am back on the east coast. That's when flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
"What happened at the World Trade Center was bad, but I think what happened at the Pentagon is really what brought the military into it as a whole," continued Dvorak. "They attacked the country by attacking the WTC, but by attacking the Pentagon, our military command and control center, they sent a message to the entire US military."
Since 9-11, this is the first overseas temporary duty assignment Dvorak has been able to go on, and he says he loves being assigned to CJTF-HOA.
"Here there is a definite mission. We are at the tip of the spear running everything to ensure that any terrorists in this area will be taken care of," said Dvorak. "I couldn't ask for a better place to be stationed."