By Sgt. 1st. Class Sheryl L. LawryOctober 20, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI -- It was an afternoon of giving and reenlisting at the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade Retention Award Ceremony, October 7 at the Nehelani Banquet room.
Kicking off the event was a mini formation of eight Soldiers who together reenlisted and walked away with a combined total in Selective Reenlistment Bonuses of $113,000; and a combined total of 35 years of continued military service.
Also, their "reenlistment options ranged from Naples, Italy and Goodfellow Air Force Base, Fort Belvoir, VA to stabilization and a semester of college," said Master Sgt. Brad Burgess, the Brigade\'s career counselor.
The Oath of Reenlistment was give by Col. Christopher Ballard, commander of the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade. Representatives from all five of the Brigade's subordinate Battalions - which range in distance from Japan to Fort Hood - were on hand to accept their unit's individual awards.
Following a lunch buffet the 500th MI BDE retention team led by Burgess distributed awards and certificates to each of the units. Every company and Battalion was awarded a certificate and plaque because each unit met their overall retention goal for 2008. This year was also the first time in the Brigade's history that it met it retention mission.
"During fiscal year 2008, the Brigade accomplished many milestones," Burgess explained. "We reenlisted 250 Soldiers for a combined bonus total of $2.3 million, and we played a significant role in INSCOM (the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command) making it's retention mission for the first time in 11 years.
"We have proven that it is possible for a Military Intelligence Brigade to meet its retention mission despite all the challenges we face in reenlisting Soldiers with valuable skills and talents that are very lucrative in the civilian section."
"Being a Soldier brings out the best in everyone... I cannot tell you how proud I am to be a part of a unit with the type of [retention] success," Ballard said. "My hat is off to all of you."