By Spc. Cassandra Monroe, 135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 3rd ID Public AffairsFebruary 4, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - Fifty-four Task Force Marne Soldiers recommitted themselves to serving in the Army during a mass re-enlistment ceremony on Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Jan. 27. Those who re-enlisted were honored by TF Marne's commanding general, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, who administered the oath of re-enlistment, along with TF Marne's senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews.
"This is the first re-enlistment of this size for Task Force Marne," said Sgt. Maj. Luis Rivera, the Task Force Marne command career counselor, 3rd Infantry Division.
The 54 Soldiers were a mixed representation of Soldiers throughout the task force.
"You all represent a commitment of more than 290 years to the United States Army," said Maj. Gen. Cucolo. "All of you are fighting the good fight with us here at Task Force Marne. We all come from 14 different major Army units, 14 different patches, 14 different unit mottos, and we're all pulling together as one.
"We're in this one together, no matter what unit patch or motto we have. We're in a combat zone, and that's when the Warrior Ethos comes into override, placing missions first, never quitting, never accepting defeat and never leaving a fallen comrade. The fact that you are re-enlisting in this difficult, complex and dangerous environment just gives me and command sergeant major even greater pride."
The ceremony was brief, but the commander made poignant comments that resonated with his audience. Staff Sergeant Richard Jadick said that he's hoping to make a statement by re-enlisting for indefinite service while at combat.
"When it came to my 14th year mark, I wanted to go indefinite and continue my service to my country and complete my 20 years," said Staff Sgt. Jadick, a military policeman, who has deployed five times and is a squad leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-3 Brigade Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
Staff Sergeant Jadick, who is stationed at FOB Marez, re-enlisted for six more years. He said that his inspiration for re-enlisting came from the support of his wife.
"My wife wanted me to do it when I left Fort Stewart, and here, the opportunity arose with Maj. Gen. Cucolo, and I thought, 'let's do it,'" said Staff Sgt. Jadick.
Staff Sgt. Jimmy Punzo also wanted to make a point with his re-enlistment.
"For me, it's a way to show Soldiers that the Army has given me a lot, and it's time to give my time back to the Army," said Staff Sgt. Punzo, a brigade schools noncommissioned officer stationed at FOB Warrior with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
"Because we're actually here in a line of combat, it means just a little bit more. We're out here making a difference, and it makes this re-enlistment a little more special also," he added.
Career counselors, who escorted Soldiers from their brigade to the ceremony, were proud that they were able to keep in quality Soldiers. Master Sergeant Brenda Windham, the brigade career counselor with HHC, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID, attended the ceremony to support 25 Soldiers from her unit.
"It's nice to see your Soldiers dedicating a few more years of their life to serve their country," said Master Sgt. Windham.
Prior to the ceremony the re-enlisting Soldiers along with Maj. Gen. Cucolo and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews recorded a retention commercial.
The theme for the commercial was "Team", and the 60-second message was summed up with these words from the commanding general, "Some folks go long, and keep playing no matter how tough the opposing team is or how unpredictable the game might be," Maj. Gen. Cucolo said. "Today, the 3rd Infantry Division honors those key players - those who chose to stay on the team and go long".