By Cpl. Timothy N. Oberle, 2nd Combat Aviation BrigadeOctober 24, 2010
HUMPHREYS GARRISON, South Korea -- Re-enlisting in the U.S. Army is sometimes a difficult decision that all Soldiers must contemplate during their military tenure.
That decision is compounded in recent years by the necessity of multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only do these deployments put Soldiers in harm's way, but they also require them to be away from their friends and family for extended periods of time.
Despite this, 43 Soldiers from the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade recently decided to disregard all of the negatives and instead chose to extend their military careers during a Mass Re-enlistment Ceremony at the 4th Attack Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade hangar, here Oct. 1.
Positives such as defending the country's freedom, helping to eradicate the world of terrorism and perhaps most importantly, to show the world that America doesn't quit, drove many of these Soldiers to put aside their own safety and time with their family to be a part of something bigger.
During the ceremony, Col. James T. Barker, 2CAB brigade commander, emphasized the importance of maintaining a ready fighting force with experienced Soldiers to secure our country's freedom.
"It says a lot about the character of a Soldier to not only enlist, but re-enlist in the Army knowing full well that we are a nation at war," Barker said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Leeford Cain, the 2CAB command sergeant major, reiterated the same sentiment by stating that "the Soldiers re-enlisting today are tomorrow's senior leaders for the Army and that is something very special and I am honored to be a part of it. It makes me especially proud because almost all of them had the courage to re-enlist while we are engaged in combat operations in two theatres simultaneously. It takes a special person to commit their life to the military profession knowing that one could be called on to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation."
He added that it is also important to impart to Soldiers thinking about re-enlisting that despite the negatives, there are a lot of benefits by staying in the Army. The economy and job market has been unstable lately and the military offers not only stable pay, but free health care.
"These Soldiers that decided to stay in the Army today are wise because they realize that the military offers a very generous pay and benefits package and the ability to retire in 20 years with health care for life," Barker said. "This is especially important due to the rising cost of health care for civilians."
One of the driving forces that led the way to assist these 43 Soldiers to re-enlist was Sgt. 1st Class Shantel Evans, the 602nd Aviation Support Battalion retention counselor, who just recently won the 2nd Infantry Division Retention Counselor of the Year award and will compete for the Eighth U.S. Army Retention Counselor of the Year award.