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Thirteen servicemembers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery raise their right hands to repeat the re-enlistment oath during a mass re-enlistment ceremony July 26 at Fort Sill. The battalion is collectively nearing its retention quota.

FORT SILL, Okla. -- Leaders of 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery conducted a mass re-enlistment ceremony July 26 for 13 Soldiers assigned to their battalion.

The battalion commander for 2-18th FA conducted the re-enlistment ceremony and gave thanks to their families.

"I have conducted re-enlistment ceremonies before," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Van Cleave, 2-18th FA battalion commander, "but this was the first mass re-enlistment that I've conducted in my 17 years of service in the Army.

The Army is not just about the Soldier, he said, it is also about the family. It's an honor to be able to stand in front of these 13 Soldiers and read them the oath of re-enlistment.

"To get that number of Soldiers to re-enlist is in creditable," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Bonham, 2-18th FA CSM. "It makes me feel extremely warm inside because it makes me think that I am really doing something right."

In the past Soldiers only had to meet the Army minimum physical fitness standards and have no disciplinary action in their personnel files in to qualify for re-enlistment. However, with budget cuts and the Army reducing in size, Soldiers have to meet stricter guidelines today.

The ceremony was a new experience for some of the Soldiers who re-enlisted.

This was my first re-enlistment ceremony, said Spc. Garrett Skelton, 2-18th FA Multiple Launch Rocket System crewmember.

"Re-enlisting allows my family and me an opportunity to enjoy the security that the Army provides," said Skelton. "I plan on making the Army a career. I'm looking forward to continue to see the new things the Army will have to offer for me and my family."

The "Mission Ready" commander encouraged Soldiers to stay Army Strong and continue to serve our nation. It feels good that Soldiers still want to stay in and continue to serve, said Van Cleave. Serving with the "Mission Ready" battalion is the right choice.

Page last updated Fri August 10th, 2012 at 00:00