by Maj. Alan S. Brown
3rd Advise and Assist Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP ADDER, Iraq – At the halfway point of their current deployment, 209 Soldiers from 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, reaffirmed the enlistment oath Oct. 9 during mass re-enlistment ceremonies in Iraq and Kuwait.
Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general, U. S. Division – South; Brig. Gen. Randal Dragon, deputy commanding general, support, USD – S; and Brig. Gen. Ricky Gibbs, deputy commanding general, maneuver, USD – S, administered the oath of enlistment to “Iron” Brigade Soldiers at Camps Basra, Adder and Garry Owen, respectively.
Soldiers came together from 12 bases across southern Iraq and Kuwait to take part in the concurrent ceremonies. Eighty-one Soldiers took the oath at Camp Basra, 64 at Camp Adder and 61 at Camp Garry Owen. In addition, one Soldier took the oath at Camp Cropper, and two re-enlisted in Kuwait.
“You have expressed an extension to your commitment to your service to our nation and not everyone does that in our nation. Really 1 percent of our fellow citizens, 1 percent,” said Brooks. “That’s how small of a group you’re in when you say ‘yes I will support and defend. Yes, I’ll do it again.'”
Brooks credited the Soldiers’ chain of command, saying that Soldiers will only want to stay in the Army if they have strong leadership and feel they are part of a great organization.
The number 209 is noteworthy, as it represents nearly half of the anticipated re-enlistment goal for the upcoming fiscal year. To put this into context, during fiscal 2010 the Iron Brigade’s re-enlistment goal was 472 for the entire year. That goal is anticipated to stay about the same this year.
Command Sgt. Maj. Miles Wilson, 3rd AAB senior enlisted advisor, said that the high number of re-enlistments is a direct reflection of the outstanding quality and dedication of this generation’s Soldiers.
“The average Soldier re-enlisting today is on his third deployment. They are combat veterans three times over, and they still want to serve their country and remain in an organization that provides for them and for their Families,” he said.
Spc. Jonathan McMullen, assigned to the personal security detail at Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd AAB, took the re-enlistment oath for the first time and said he plans to stay in until he can complete his college degree.
“Since the fourth grade, I’ve always wanted to join the military,” said McMullen. “I never had a doubt about re-enlisting.”