LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Before being deployed to Iraq, Army Reserve Maj. Miles Genglerneeded Red Bull energy drinks to survive his schedule.
Wake up at 4 a.m. Drive over an hour to work while listening tolegal CDs. Come home. Squeeze in time with his wife and three kids.Pack for Iraq. Settle other matters before leaving the country forat least a year. Oh -- and study for Michigan's two-day barexam.
Gengler, 35, was rewarded Wednesday when he was sworn in as anew lawyer while standing more than 6,000 miles away in Baghdad'sGreen Zone. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kellyadministered the 240-word oath during a unique long-distanceceremony at the state National Guard headquarters in Lansing.
"I'm just in awe," Gengler, of Grand Blanc, told reporters. "I'mjust a soldier like 120,000 or so others here in Iraq."
The chief justice said she could not help but get emotionalduring the swearing-in, partly because of the time delay betweenwhen she stated the oath and when Gengler could repeat it.
"It served to remind me how far away he is," Kelly said.
Kelly and National Guard officials said they were unaware ofsuch a video swearing-in happening before anywhere else in theUnited States.
Gengler's Chesaning High School sweetheart-turned-wife, Heather,his daughters Carson, 12, and Hayden, 8, and parents watched on aTV screen as he repeated the oath. He could see them, too, and theygot to talk for a bit following the ceremony.
"For a long time he didn't sleep much at all," Heather Genglersaid of the hectic time before he left for Iraq.
He graduated with honors from Thomas M. Cooley Law School inAuburn Hills in September. He almost missed the February bar exambecause of his deployment but was able to delay his departure totake the test. He found out he passed in May.
A law school dean promised Gengler he would be sworn in even ifhe was in Iraq.
"I'm proud of everything he does," Heather Gengler said. "Heserves our country and makes sacrifices that most people can'timagine. On top of all of that, he's very, very driven. Who knowswhat he'll do next?"
When he returns from Iraq in 2010, Miles Gengler wants topractice in corporate, labor or bankruptcy law. He wanted to be anattorney years ago but put law school on hold after starting afamily at a young age.
"There's no better time than the present," he said.
Gengler is part of the Multi-National Security TransitionCommand, which is responsible for training the Iraqi military. Hejoined the Army in 1996 after graduating from the University ofMichigan, where was in ROTC. He later was a tank commander in SouthKorea. His grandfather served in the Navy during World War II. Hisfather was in the Army during Vietnam, and his stepbrother is anArmy private in Iraq.
Before going to Iraq, Gengler was a manager at uniform supplierCintas Corp. in Midland. He finished law school in four years bytaking weekend classes.
Michigan National Guard Brig. Gen. Mike McDaniel said the videoteleconference system initially was set up for military business,but it is now available for families, too. He said soldiers havewatched their children open Christmas presents, and kids havehugged the TV screen.
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