A steady Georgia downpour did not delay Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno’s visits to Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Aug. 6. The stops marked the first time Gen. Odierno has visited the 'Dog Face' Soldiers of the Third Infantry Division at their home base since being sworn in as the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army on Sept. 7, 2011.
General Odierno met with senior leaders and spoke to Family Members about 'Shaping the Army of 2020,' the Army’s initiative focused on successfully transitioning the force from its current wartime focus to a focus on staffing, training and equipping the force of the future.
The highlight of the coastal stopover came when Gen. Odierno reenlisted 30 Marne Soldiers in the presence of Family Members and their brothers and sisters in arms.
"It’s great to be down here at Fort Stewart," Gen. Odierno said. "I’ve had the opportunity throughout the years to serve side by side and shoulder to shoulder with many Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division—I’m proud to say I’ve had the opportunity to do that.
"The best part of my job is when I get to do things like this: I get to reenlist young men and women who are choosing to stay in the Army," Gen. Odierno continued. "The other important part for us as an Army is we just don’t make leaders, we have to grow leaders. As we have a mixture of first-termers, mid-termers and careerists who are reenlisting today, you are helping us to develop that expertise."
Specialist Erick Machain, a motor transport operator with Company E, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, reenlisted at the ceremony beside his wife and young son.
The native of Mexico City said he chose to serve three more years to further his career and college education, as well as to continue to support his Family. He said it was an honor to be a part of the ceremony.
"It’s very exciting," Spc. Machain said. "It’s not every day you get to be reenlisted by a general, let alone the chief of staff."
Another reenlistee, Sgt. Candice N. Jones, a human resources specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, said she had many reasons she decided to stay Army, besides supporting her six children.
"I enjoy what I do," the native of Albany, Ga., said. "I love travelling, I love seeing the world, I love taking care of Soldiers and I love taking care of the country.
"It makes me feel great to be a part of … such a great organization that [plays a role] in the country’s well-being," Jones continued.
After the reenlistment Gen. Odierno spoke to each Family individually and presented the reenlistees with coins.