By J.D. LeipoldApril 23, 2009
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 23, 2009) -- On the Army Reserve's 101st birthday on Capitol Hill today, 60 reserve Soldiers, many of them noncommissioned officers, from units representing all 50 states, raised their right hands and re-enlisted for a combined total of 360 years.
Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz opened the ceremony by telling the audience the ceremony was more than just a re-enlistment observance, it was a showcase of talent and recognition of 2009 as the Year of the NCO.
"What makes our Army the greatest Army in the world is our NCO corps," he said. "Today, we have more than 40 NCOs standing here who are going to take the oath of enlistment knowing what they're facing... the operational tempo... future deployments... all those things that are happening, yet they are still willing to raise their hands."
Stultz added that not only were the re-enlistees great NCOs and Soldiers, they were exceptional citizens as well and that their families and employers were the primary reasons for the continued growth of the Army Reserve.
"We recently crossed 205,000 in end strength, and when I came into this job three years ago we were at 185,000," he pointed out to the Soldiers and audience. "That increase didn't happen by chance, it happened because of these people who raised their hands and said they were staying with us. That's why we have had record re-enlistments, because their leadership has prompted others to join our ranks."
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston spoke following Stultz and also praised the NCOs of today and asked every veteran from all the services to stand and be recognized.
"It's your legacy for all of us wearing the uniform today; it's your legacy we continue to carry on, and it's your torch that we continue to pass on from generation to generation," he said.
Among other Army Reserve birthday events, an 81st Regional Readiness Command cermony at Fort Jackson, S.C., unveiled a Japanese flag captured by the 81st Infantry Division during World War II. The flag had undergone nearly a year of restoration and was donated by the widow of the Soldier who had captured it.