Soldiers Re-enlist to Commemorate 100th Army Reserve Anniversary
By Master Sgt. Anthony Martinez, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Jan. 18, 2008 – More than 100 mobilized Army Reserve soldiers deployed in Iraq and Kuwait raised their right hands and recited the oath of enlistment in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Army Reserve, in a ceremony here today.
In the grand rotunda of Al Faw Palace here, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, issued the oath of enlistment and remarked on the continued commitment Army Reserve soldiers make in reenlisting.
“In places like Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines and Latin America, Army reservists are bringing their warrior skills and their civilian trades to the fight,” Petraeus said.
“As everyone here knows,” Petraeus told the citizen-soldiers, “that combination is particularly effective in the exceedingly complex environments we face today -- environments that require our troopers to be not just warriors but also diplomats, builders, trainers, advisors, intelligence gatherers, service providers, economic developers and mediators.”
“Citizen-soldiers perform these diverse roles expertly, and in so doing, they demonstrate the critical role members of the Army Reserve play in safeguarding freedom at home and defending it abroad,” the general added.
“Indeed, I cannot think of a better way to honor the Army Reserve’s first century of service than being part of a ceremony where so many great reservists raise their right hands and commit themselves to continue serving our nation,” Petraeus said.
During the ceremony, Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of Army Reserve Command, commented on the transformation of the Army Reserve over the past 100 years.
“The Army Reserve was founded in 1908, but I can tell you that the Army Reserve of 2008 is vastly different than the Army Reserve of 1908,” Stultz said. “The Army Reserve today really is an operational force, an integrated part of the Army,” Stultz added. “And there’s no better way for us to kick off our 100th anniversary year and to symbolize what the Army Reserve today really is than to be able to conduct a re-enlistment ceremony here in Baghdad in the palace with 100 of our Army Reserve soldiers.”
For many of the soldiers here today, the opportunity to participate was about more than just re-enlisting for themselves. It was a way to honor the service of those who came before them.
“I’m just one soldier, just one average ‘joe,’” said Sgt. Jonathan Britt, a 25-year-old medic from Fayetteville, N.C., mobilized with 535th Military Police Battalion.
“I’ve only been in for two years, so for 98 years there were people upholding these traditions, and that’s one of the reasons for me to re-enlist, to uphold the tradition, honor and integrity behind that -- not for my own personal sake but for those that served before me,” Britt said.
Soldiers selected to participate in the commemorative ceremony are a sampling of the more than 1,876 Army Reserve soldiers who have reenlisted over the past 12 months while deployed in Iraq and Kuwait, according to the Army Reserve Retention and Transition Office here. Army Reserve re-enlistments in Iraq and Kuwait reflect approximately 20 percent of all re-enlistments for the Army Reserve worldwide, officials said.
(Army Master Sgt. Anthony Martinez is assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve Command.)