Soldiers re-enlist on gridiron
February 17, 2010
DENVER -- When Soldiers re-enlist, it generally consists of them standing in front of the American flag, raising their right hand and being sworn in for yet another term of service to their country. However, the 759th Military Police Battalion went the extra mile to have their Soldiers re-enlist at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
Staff Sgt. Eric Butcher, retention noncommissioned officer for the 759th MP Bn., does what he can to meet the requests of Soldiers in his battalion wanting to re-enlist. The battalion gives the re-enlisting Soldiers the day before, day of, and day after the re-enlistment off as well as a few passes, but Butcher likes to go above and beyond to make it a special occasion for them.
"There are some guys that, they don't care," said Butcher, "And there are some guys ... they really want to do something special for it."
Butcher, who has been the retention NCO for the 759th MP Bn. for a little more than a year, has arranged for Soldiers to re-enlist on top of Pikes Peak and on the side of the rappel tower of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), as well as other places.
"It's their re-enlistment," Butcher said, "so I ask them, 'what do you want to do, what officer do you want, and where do you want to do it and what time''"
So when Spc. Paul Gemmati came to Butcher with the idea of re-enlisting on the famed field where the Denver Broncos play and asked him to see if he could make it happen, Butcher made some calls.
On Jan. 28, Sgt. Derek White and Spcs. Tracy Pendergrass and Nicholas Yandell, as well as Gemmati, were able to run, screaming and yelling, down the corridors of Invesco Field and onto the gridiron for their re-enlistment ceremony.
As they entered the field, White, Gemmati and Pendergrass were treated to a little something extra as they saw a congratulations message to them on the scoreboard. Yandell had been a last minute addition to the re-enlistment ceremony.
"It's kind of overwhelming a little bit," said White, who was re-enlisting for another three years of service. "The field looks totally different when you're on it ... it's a lot smaller when you're there."
Despite the chance of snow and the freezing temperatures, the Soldiers seemed to be in good spirits as they took time to run around, do end zone dances and throw a few footballs around the field before getting down to the business of re-enlisting.
"It was pretty sweet," said White, summing up the day's events.