A first-of-its-kind mass re-enlistment involving soldiers from every major Fort Stewart command was held Thursday morning at Marne Garden.
“This is the first time in several years we’ve re-enlisted soldiers from throughout the (3rd Infantry) Division,” said Sgt. Maj. Derrick Moodie, command career counselor. “Today, we’re re-enlisting 46 soldiers — along with their family members. You see, our motto is, ‘We don’t just re-enlist soldiers; we re-enlist families.’”
Moodie explained that without that base of support from the spouse and children, soldiers aren’t going to be happy in the Army, and if a soldier is not happy, he or she is not likely to stay in the Army.
The sergeant major’s remarks were echoed by Sgt. 1st Class Le’Vetrice Johnson, 3rd ID senior operations noncommissioned officer, and Staff Sgt. Gregory Bourgeois, 3rd ID retention NCO.
“We had a lot of soldiers who wanted to re-enlist with the general,” Johnson said, explaining some soldiers’ desire to have their oath of re-enlistment administered by Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, commander of the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield. “Most of the soldiers re-enlisting today want to stay here. I think it’s because they like it here.”
“Today, we’re re-enlisting 46 soldiers who represent 28 states,” Abrams said in his opening remarks. “These men and women represent a cross section of races and range in age from 21 to 40. You can spot the 21-year-old because he looks like he’s only 15.”
Abrams commended the soldiers for continuing to volunteer to serve the Army and the nation in what he described as the “longest standing all-volunteer force serving during a war.”
“That puts you in a very special category,” he added. “I also want to thank you spouses for supporting your soldier. And if your spouse hasn’t thanked you lately for your support, I want you to let me know and I’ll have a good, long talk with him.”
Following his remarks, the commanding general called the soldiers and family members to their feet in a position of attention, then asked each soldier to raise his or her right hand and, repeating after him, “swear or affirm” the oath of re-enlistment.
After the official ceremony, the soldiers and their families waited in a long line for a chance to shake hands and be photographed with their commander and 3rd ID Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson.
Spc. Wade Neiman, the youngest soldier singled out by Abrams, said he’s been in the Army since he was 18 and already has served a tour in Iraq.
“I re-enlisted for three more years because I got a really good duty station — Fort Belvoir (Va.),” the Nebraska native said. “My (military occupational specialty) is military intelligence systems repairer. My new assignment is just something I always wanted.”
Another soldier, Sgt. Joshua Nehrling, with his wife, Amber, and son, Bradlee, 2, said he was content with the job he was doing with 2nd HBCT. His comments were more typical of most of the other soldiers who re-enlisted Thursday.