3rd Infantry Division Soldiers Re-Enlist En Masse
American Forces Press Service
CAMP TAJI, Iraq, April 6, 2005 One hundred seventy-seven right hands were raised together April 3 at the airfield here as that many soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's Aviation Brigade re-enlisted in a mass ceremony.
Gen. Dan K. McNeill, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, with 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. William G. Webster, administers the Oath of Enlistment to 177 soldiers during a ceremony at the Camp Taji, Iraq, airfield April 3. Photo by Spc. Brian P. Henretta, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Gen. Dan K. McNeill, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, administered the Oath of Enlistment. Maj. Gen. William G. Webster, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, accompanied McNeill.
Division officials said the mass re-enlistment was the largest for the division and the largest for an Army unit in the Iraqi theater of operations. The 101st Airborne Division, which re-enlisted 158 soldiers on July 4, 2003, held the previous record.
The 177 soldiers pledged a total of 990 years of additional service to the Army and will receive a total of nearly $1.8 million in bonuses. Some 121 re-enlistees received stabilization and education options in their contracts to stay with the 3rd ID.
The key to organizing so many soldiers was finding out their needs, wants and desires, then working hard to make sure they could be fulfilled, said Master Sgt. James R. Jay, the aviation brigade's reserve-component senior career counselor.
"Most of the soldiers who re-enlisted ... didn't do it for money or anything like that. They wanted to volunteer to continue serving their country, and it meant a lot to them to do it here in the war zone with General McNeill giving the oath," said Barry S. Norris, the brigade's senior active-duty career counselor. "Many of them have told me it gives them a great feeling of camaraderie."
During the ceremony, the brigade received the Presidential Unit Citation for its service in Operation Iraqi Freedom I, and McNeill and Webster promoted Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sezandra Pinckney, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion. Pinckney's husband, Sgt. Maj. Allen Pinckney, and son, Pfc. Allen Pinckney Jr., accompanied her. All three members of the Pinckney family serve in the 3rd ID.
(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)