FORT SILL, Okla.--Fort Sill's emphasis on enlisted retention earned two awards from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command for 2009.

Team Sill captured the Early Bird Award as the first TRADOC Center of Excellence to reach its reenlistment goal as 317 Soldiers were retained on active duty or those separating remained on Reserve status. It also took the Highest Production Award as 466 Soldiers reenlisted, 147 percent of the post's reenlistment goal of eligible Soldiers.

"We have a common cause to take care of Soldiers and give them what they need; throughout my career, I've enjoyed helping Soldiers and their families make career decisions. It doesn't matter if you're a two-star general or a battery commander, I get the same satisfaction of making a difference to help Soldiers better themselves," said Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general.

Twenty-three career counselors, a small cadre of retention professionals, led the effort to provide Soldiers information so they can make better career choices. These counselors are assisted by unit commanders and full- and part-time retention NCOs at all levels of command down to the battery level. All together these Soldiers are what Halverson called "a dedicated, hardworking and caring group of leaders."

Halverson said the reenlistment team is a small group of Soldiers who coach, teach and mentor other Soldiers to reach the much larger number of reenlistment eligible Soldiers. He added Team Sill is all about taking care of Soldiers and their families, and by working together a "community of choice" is created which Soldiers and their families want to be a part of.

"Battery commanders and first sergeants set the climate that makes Soldiers want to stay in the Army," Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Smith, center command sergeant major, said. "As a young Soldier reenlisting, it was the battery commander, first sergeant, platoon leader and platoon sergeant who inspired me - that's who I wanted to be."

He said it's these leaders who make things happen, and, because of that, it is essential to recognize them for being role models for reenlistment eligible Soldiers.

The need to retain skilled Soldiers is apparent throughout the Army. Smith said Fort Sill's exceeding its goals even though the Army's going into its ninth year of combat, "We're sustaining it with an all volunteer force, and Soldiers are reenlisting in incredible numbers."

As enlisted Soldiers progress through their enlistments, they find more intricate and challenging positions await them, like those found in Iraq or Afghanistan. The two leaders said sergeants are serving as advisers and instructors to foreign armies, giving orders in foreign languages and making economic decisions on the battlefield.

While Soldiers reenlist, Halverson said families are an important facet of Army life.

"We know the mission will prevent Soldiers from being home for birthdays, anniversaries and all those things a normal person is there for because our nation asks for their service. Developing that family support system enables Soldiers to function better at their jobs," said Halverson.

As for the rest of Team Sill, the general said whether answering a phone, providing customer service or responding in any of the myriad activities that bring people into interaction with Soldiers, we're all part of this team.

"If Soldiers feel everyone is behind them, then they will want to reenlist," Halverson said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16