HOUSTON, Texas - The Army is the second largest employer in the United States and is responsible for the protection of the people and interests of this nation. To accomplish this mission, they require a qualified, well-trained workforce in order to sustain readiness. Readiness starts with recruitment and retention, and the Army remains committed to retaining the most qualified Soldiers and leaders in its ranks.

Twenty-five Soldiers from the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 1st Medical Brigade, 61st Quartermaster Battalion and 49th Transportation Battalion stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, participated in a mass reenlistment ceremony at John O'Quinn Field at Texas Dow Employees Credit Union Stadium Oct. 24.

The University of Houston Cougars faced the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University during the school's Veterans Appreciation game.
Houston is one of 13th ESC's largest community partners and once the opportunity presented itself, 13th ESC's Community Relations officer-in-charge, Maj. John Burns, knew it was something the unit had to be involved in.

"We jumped at the opportunity because it creates a special moment for our Soldiers and allows them to share that moment with the men and women they serve every day," Burns said. "Events like this allow the people of Houston and the Soldiers of the United States Army to better understand and appreciate one another."

13th ESC's retention team of Sgt. Maj. Jennifer St. John and Master Sgt. Opheline Moore organized the ceremony and acknowledged the significance the event has for the Army, the 13th ESC and their community partners.

"The ceremony was a big deal because they reenlisted in front of such a large audience," St. John said. "It also gives people that don't normally interact with Soldiers the opportunity to take part in a significant moment of a Soldier's life as they rededicate their lives to defending the nation."

After serving for almost three years, Spc. Trenten Stanhope, 553rd Field Feeding Company, 61st Quartermaster Battalion, was one of the Soldiers on the field. Stanhope was eager to join the event and was happy to have participated after it was all said and done.

"I was nervous but I felt good at the same time," Stanhope said. "It was also great because this was my first time going to a college football game."

University of Houston's Assistant Athletics Director for marketing and event presentation, Robert Boudwin, is always a part of the vast military initiatives the school supports and explained why the ceremony was important for them.

"Being able to watch someone who served their nation and then volunteered to continue service and share that special moment with everyone is a unique experience," Boudwin said. "It is a special moment for everyone at the university. Seeing the people that protect us and the rest of the nation reenlist is a humbling experience."

The Commanding General of the 13th ESC, Brig. Gen. Darren L. Werner, administered the Oath of Enlistment and cherishes the opportunity to hold ceremonies of this magnitude.

"I can't express the significance of this event," Werner explained. "When a Soldier reenlists it means the Soldier has volunteered to continue serving and is committed to something that is greater than themselves - to serve and defend this great nation."

Being able to not only retain some of 13th ESC's most qualified Soldiers, but to do it in a community that supports military veterans from all walks of life is a great feeling, and Werner shared his gratitude.

"Thanks so much to the University of Houston and TDECU Stadium for allowing us to come here tonight to acknowledge the reenlistment of these great Soldiers," Werner said.