Commitment, taking the oath
November 20, 2013
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - As the U.S. Army "right-sizes" into a more lean and lethal fighting force, soldiers face fewer career opportunities. Today's soldiers have to make the decision to continue their service even with the looming budget and reduction tensions.
A group of 52 soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and raised their right hand signifying the ultimate commitment and swore to defend the Constitution of the United States of America in a ceremony held outside of the Task Force Lifeliner headquarters at Bagram Air Field, Nov. 18, 2013. Maj. Gen. Kurt Stein, commanding general of the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) performed the symbolic act of leading the oath of reenlistment. Col. Charles Hamilton, the host of the ceremony and commander of Task Force Lifeliner, proudly watched as his soldiers renewed their commitment to our Nation and the U.S. Army.
"It's tough to reenlist in our Army today," Stein stated to the group of Soldiers. "We keep the very best and brightest. Our Army is right-sizing and the fact that you're getting to reenlist today is special, very special... special for our Army."
Stein ensured each soldier in the formation understood the importance of their decision, especially during this pivotal time in the U.S. military. "It's hard to get in our Army, so I congratulate all of you for being that one percent. You're part of that proud few, congratulations to you."
For one young soldier this reenlistment represents the fervor he feels to serve his country.
"It means that I'm taking the next step in my career, that I'm doing something most Americans will never know the feeling of doing," said Spc. Ezekiah Jackson, a native of Chicago.
"I reenlisted for four more years in the United States military... the General come out and reenlisted us. It's a very proud feeling," he added.
Staff Sgt. Montray Andrews, the retention noncommissioned officer for the 536th Support Maintenance Company in support of 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Task Force Lifeliner, assisted 27 of the 52 soldiers in their reenlistments. Andrew spoke about the "great heart it takes" to reenlist while serving in a hazardous duty location. "The soldiers raising their right hand and swearing in... that oath means that they are going to support and defend our great nation." said Andrews, a native of Corsicana, Texas.
There are many memories soldiers keep with them from their experiences serving in the Army, but reenlistments are pivotal points in a soldiers' career that are most often cherished. For a general to conduct the soldiers' reenlistment, it will give them a memory to last throughout their career, Andrews added.