By Sgt. 1st Class Rhonda M. Lawson, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, Third Infantry Division PAONovember 4, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga., Nov. 4, 2011 -- The Third Infantry Division retained 46 Soldiers Nov. 3 in a mass reenlistment ceremony at Marne Gardens.
The event followed the Division's run earlier that morning, which included every brigade, separate battalion and Garrison unit on Fort Stewart. The day's events were dubbed "Super Thursday," partially because it was the first time in more than 10 years that the entire Division, including those stationed at Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Benning, Ga., was together on Fort Stewart.
"We wanted to start off the new (fiscal year) thanking Soldiers for their commitment to their country, and what better way to start off than with the commanding general to set the tempo?" said Sgt. Maj. Derrick Moodie, the Third Infantry Division command career counselor.
The re-enlistees ranged in age from as young as 20, to as experienced as 40 years old, with one Soldier reenlisting for six years. The 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team had the largest representation, with 12 re-enlistees, followed by the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team with eight.
Many of the Soldiers reenlisted to stay at Fort Stewart in their respective units. Across the board, the Division has met or exceeded its retention goals for the last few years.
"We're way past where the Army expects us to be right now," said Sgt. 1st Class Le'Vetrice Johnson, the division's senior retention operations noncommissioned officer. "I think the Soldiers like what they do, and they like being at Fort Stewart. When they deploy together, they form a family, and they become closer."
The ceremony gave the Soldiers the opportunity to be reenlisted by Third Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams. They were encouraged to invite their families to the event, with family members sitting with their Soldiers during the ceremony.
"We don't just reenlist Soldiers, we reenlist families. This is their day, these 46 great American Soldiers and their families," Moodie said. "It's all about them today."
Abrams echoed that sentiment during his speech before reenlisting the Soldiers.
"All of us can't thank our family members enough for what they do in support of our Soldiers and our Army," he said. "Their sacrifices have been tremendous."
Abrams also commended the Soldiers for their commitment to the Army.
"This is the longest standing all-volunteer force at war," he said. "On behalf of the leaders of this division, I want to thank you for your service. You represent about one percent of our American population who's willing to do this -- to volunteer and serve your country, especially in the time of war. That puts you in a very special category, and I'm proud that I'm going to get to reaffirm the oath today."