CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq (Army News Service, Jan. 22, 2007) - Leadership, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage - these are the Army values and also seven good reasons to reenlist.
Aside from the intangible rewards of continued service to country, reenlisting offers peace of mind to combat veterans, said Sgt. Maj. Derek Dahlke, command career counselor for 1st Cavalry Division.
"A lot of Soldiers find after they come (into the Army) that they get the discipline and the teamwork that they need ... the family they may have never had," said Dahlke. "I don't sell the Army. The Army sells itself."
Career counselors and retention non-commissioned officers educate Soldiers on their reenlistment options. In addition to healthcare and retirement after 20 years, Dahlke said the Army provides stability, predictability and first-rate communities.
He credits the Army with more than just enriching his life, he said.
"The Army saved my life. It provided discipline, teamwork, camaraderie and esprit de corps - I wanted more of it," Dahlke said, adding that Soldiers need to make an educated decision on what's best for them.
"A Soldier should reenlist if it's right for them," Dahlke explained. "Look at all of your options and make an educated decision."
For extending their service, the Army gives Soldiers the option of remaining at their current location, earning a new military occupational specialty or moving to an overseas or continental U.S. station of choice.
Soldiers may also be eligible for MOS-specific bonuses, deployment bonuses or location bonuses for specific installations. Soldiers are able to choose the most lucrative bonus. Each is tax free for deployed Soldiers, Dahlke said.
The bottom-line for retention is manning and sustaining the force, Dahlke said.
"We've got to retain quality Soldiers," Dahlke said. "The Soldiers that reenlist today will become the senior leaders of tomorrow, and ensure the future of our Army. Our Army has a proud heritage, and is essential to our nation. That is why reenlistment is so important."
Soldiers interested in remaining a member of the Army family should talk with their company-level retention noncommissioned officer and chain-of-command, then their career counselor and finally their family members to make a family-based decision, Dahlke said.
"Soldiers are appreciative when the command team, the counselors and retention NCOs take time to really educate them on retention, so they make a good decision - whether it is to stay in or transition out," Dahlke said.
Though the current operation tempo for the Army is quite high, Dahlke said the Army always moves in cycles.
"I understand that it's hard. What we're doing is very important in securing our country for our families," Dahlke said. "We can't quit the battle before it's done. It's a great opportunity to learn and be a part of history."