By Staff Sgt. Taikeila ChanceyJanuary 15, 2013
When the time came to reenlist, 12 Soldiers from the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade decided to do so in memorable fashion -- by conducting their oath of reenlistment at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, Jan. 10.
The idea of honoring fallen comrades while reenlisting at the memorial came about when Sgt. James Caldwell, of the 741st MI Battalion, 704th MI Brigade chose to stay Army and was given several options of places to reenlist. After careful consideration, Caldwell opted to make the road trip to New York.
"I chose the 9/11 Memorial because I have never been there and when given the option to reenlist there, so many memories of September 11, 2001 came to mind," said Caldwell. "I was not a Soldier at the time, but that's a day I will never forget."
Sgt. 1st Class Tarsha Peele, a career counselor with the 741st MI Battalion, 704th MI Brigade, loved the idea and immediately began planning collectively with the other career counselors. Master Sgt. Michael Gibson, senior career counselor, 704th MI Brigade, agreed and felt that this would be an effort to build e sprit de corps and unit and family cohesion.
"We felt this would be an outstanding way for those who serve to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice," he said.
What began as a small, one person reenlistment ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial quickly expanded to include a dozen Soldiers from across the brigade.
"Being afforded the opportunity to reenlist at the 9/11 Memorial was an unforgettable experience, I loved it," said Spc. Bettina Moore, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 704th MI Brigade. "When the attack took place 11 years ago, I was living in Germany and remember not being able to contact any of my family and friends in New York."
Adding to the occasion, the unit also extended invitations to friends and family members of each Soldier who reenlisted at the memorial. Not only was the trip a great opportunity to foster pride in those who serve, but by including friends and family members, it made for a truly memorable event.
"I didn't plan on reenlisting at the 9/11 Memorial, but when I heard about the offer, I decided it would be a good idea," said Spc. Raymond Gearhart, of the 742nd MI Battalion, 704th MI Brigade. "I hadn't seen it yet, so I got to see it for the first time and reenlist.
"Not too many people get to reenlist there, so I felt privileged," Gearhart added.