Thirty 49th Soldiers Reaffirm Their Commitment to Service
July 17, 2008
Fort Lee, Va. (July 17, 2008) -- "I come from a military Family ... Navy, Air Force," said Pfc. James Muna. "I've always wanted to join because I got tired of seeing everybody else get out there and fight for freedom. It's my turn and my duty to do my part."
Muna, of the 506th Quartermaster Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was one of 30 Soldiers from the 49th QM Group who reaffirmed their commitment to the Army during a mass reenlistment ceremony July 9 at the parade field near the Group headquarters.
The ceremony included a fractional representation of each of the 49th's 12 companies and two detachments, totaling about 300 Soldiers. A small group of spouses, children and other attendees sat under two canopies that protected them from falling rain.
Col. John P. Curran, 49th QM Group commander, was the reenlisting officer for the ceremony. During his speech before those gathered, he posed the question, "Why do Soldiers reenlist'"
"In many cases, they haven't finished what they've started to do," he said earnestly, the sound of raindrops amplified by his microphone. "But in most cases, they reenlist because they understand what they're doing is extremely important."
Curran also emphasized several times during his speech that a Soldier's reenlistment is inclusive of Family members.
"When we bring a Soldier into the Army, we bring a Soldier and their Family in together," he said. "That is a joint commitment with the Soldier, his Family and our nation, whether it's a mother and father, a husband or wife or sons and daughters. Those are the ones who are truly making the commitment on behalf of our nation."
After his speech, Curran gave the Oath of Enlistment to the Soldiers and a few Family members who accompanied them in the formation.
Afterwards, they cut a reenlistment cake and members of the 49th Group congratulated the reenlisted.
Muna's wife, Pauline, stood with her husband in formation while he recited the oath. Pauline said she participated in the ceremony because she understands his commitment to the Army and her role in supporting him.
"It means the world to me because not only did he marry the Army, but I became a mistress," she said, breaking into laughter. On a more serious note, she said, "He's serving the country and that is of the utmost importance to us."
The reenlisted included males and females, and a mix of different ethnicities and ages.
Staff Sgt. Bilaal Porter was one of the older Soldiers who participated in the ceremony. He's in his 14th year of service and recited the oath for the last time.
"These past 14 years went by real fast," he said. "I'm taking it in stride and learning and growing with my Soldiers, doing what I can do."
Porter said a mass reenlistment is a great way to do it for the last time.
"This is the first time I've done something like this," he said. "I have all these people out here; usually it's done in a quiet room with a couple of people. It's exciting."
The 49th has 45 Soldiers who have reenlisted since the Army Birthday Celebration June 13.