By Jon Connor, ASC Public AffairsDecember 2, 2008
If you've seen one oath of enlistment, you've seen them all. Right' Never.
For one Army Field Support Brigade officer, giving the oath has taken on a new dimension, one which may never be equaled. That's because he swore in estimated 100 enlistees in front of 70,000 people during the half time of a recent National Football League game.
"I started talking and then noticed that there was at least a two-second delay between what I was saying and my voice coming over the sound system," Col. Brian Haebig said of historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Nov. 16 game pitted the host Packers against their arch rival, the Chicago Bears.
Haebig took over the command of the 404th AFSB at Fort Lewis, Wash., in July and is responsible for 50 Soldiers, about 200 government civilians, and 1,000 contractors. Besides the brigade, there are five battalions located at Fort Lewis, California, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska.
"I said a couple quick remarks about this being a great day in the lives of these young Americans...and how great it is for the U.S. Army."
Overcoming the audio delay, Haebig administered the oath, describing the feeling as "absolutely amazing" but different from any other enlistment.
"...It was nerve wracking with the delay. The Soldiers were responding to my four- or five-word phrases -- as I broke it down into small pieces -- before my voice sounded through the stadium. So it was like singing a round of 'Row, row, row your boat," Haebig said.
After that, a big "Hooah" signaled to the crowd to give the enlistees a big round of applause to America's newest "best generation."
Then, Army-famed recruiter-singer Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Buckley who travels the world entertaining Soldiers and civilians, sang the "American Soldier" song made famous by country artist Toby Keith. On the other side of the field, the U.S. Army Drill Team - one element of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) -- conducted a demonstration which was synchronized with Buckley's singing.
"Right before the song ended, all the new Soldiers began running around a 50-yard long American flag shaped like the USA and pulled it tight," Haebig said, adding the "crowd went crazy."
The enlistment culminated with a large bald eagle being released from the stadium top swooping to field level in a circular maneuver and then landing on a pole next to the drill team, Haebig recalled. "All I could say was, 'Wow!' "
Just prior to the mass enlistment, an estimated 70 veterans of the Oneida Nation (Native Americans) were honored for their service. After forming up behind Haebig, a torch was passed to the younger generation members.
The enlistees were mainly from Wisconsin, but some were also from Upper Michigan and northwestern Illinois, said Jorge Gomez, public affairs specialist with the Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion, which was responsible for the event.
The trip was a homecoming of sorts for Haebig, a 1982 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he majored in political science.
He was back in the Badger state to speak at an annual banquet held in Green Bay for the Fox River ROTC Battalion two days earlier. His speaking engagement was part of a broader plan encouraged by Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, commanding general of the Army Recruiting Command, to give brigade commanders and command sergeants major an opportunity to engage mainstream America and future Soldiers, Haebig said.
"I think this is a fantastic program especially since most of these new recruits' parents are about my age," Haebig said, "and we can tell them what a great opportunity the Army is."
His recent deployments include Afghanistan from February 2004 to March 2005 as commander, Logistics Task Force 524 (Uzbekistan and Forward Operating Base Salerno), and to Afghanistan, January to July 2007 as commander of the headquarters' Support Group -- International Security Assistance Force (Kabul).
Haebig originally entered the Army as a college option enlistee meaning he had passed the Officer Candidate School board as a civilian. His contract stated that he would attend OCS immediately upon graduation from basic training.
He did and was commissioned a second lieutenant in December 1985 in the Infantry branch. "Following graduation my goals were to become a good platoon leader and then someday become a company commander. Everything since then has been icing on the cake," said Haebig, who will mark 23 years' commissioned service in December. "Great bosses, great jobs, etc."
The 404th's mission is to serve as the Army Materiel Command's face to the field in the Pacific Region -- all states west of Colorado, Haebig said. It integrates and synchronizes acquisition, logistics and technology, and is AMC's lead in Reset -- a series of actions to restore units to desired level of combat capability -- and Left Behind Equipment programs. Additionally, it leverages AMC support to Army, joint, and coalition forces across the full spectrum of operations and the Army Force Generation process.
Oh yeah, the Packers mauled the Bears, 37-3.