Re-enlistment Ceremony Marks 102 Years for Army Reserve
By Judith Snyderman
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, April 23, 2010 To mark the 102nd anniversary of the U.S. Army Reserve, a hand-picked group of 60 reservists representing units in every U.S. state and territory re-enlisted together at a ceremony held today on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Army Reserve soldiers stand in formation in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Building, Washington, D.C., during the fifth annual U.S. Army Reserve National Capitol Re-enlistment Ceremony, April 23, 2010. Sixty U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from across the United States took part in the event marking the U.S. Army Reserves 102nd anniversary.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Due to the disruption of air traffic from Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud, one soldier who was selected for the honor, Army Staff Sgt. Pratik D. Ram, participated via live video link from Germany. Ram’s father flew from India to Germany to sit behind his son while he took the reenlistment oath.
Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz administered the pledge. He said the historic Senate caucus room was a fitting setting for citizen soldiers who he called, “national treasures.”
Most of today’s more than 207,000 Army Reservists, Stultz said, enlisted after Sept. 11, 2001, knowing that extended conflicts meant the likelihood they would be mobilized and face danger.
“What you have are soldiers who are employees, who are moms and dads, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters - who are willing to voluntarily raise their hand and say, ‘I want to serve my nation,’” Stultz said.
Army Master Sgt. John T. Martin from the Army Reserve Career Division helped pick the representative re-enlistees from candidates submitted by retention officers.
From privates to staff sergeants, individuals were singled out for their achievements. Most are combat veterans, and the group included a Silver Star recipient.
Army Sgt. Kyle F. Tuner was awarded the Silver Star medal in 2004 for heroic actions during a firefight while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, he is an active-duty drill sergeant at Fort Sill, Okla.
Tuner said the honor meant a lot to him, but the ceremony was especially poignant for his father who came to Washington to watch his son re-enlist.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler from the 4225th U.S. Army Hospital in Helena, Mont., was also honored to take his reenlistment oath from a three-star general. He said that’s not the norm.
Butler exemplifies the wide range of walks of life covered by citizen-soldiers in the reserves. He’s a medical logistics sergeant in the Army, but a cattle rancher by trade.
“A lot of the skills and work ethics that I gained while growing up working on a cattle ranch has definitely crossed over and helped me in my military career,” he said. Butler has been deployed to Qatar and served in missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa.
During the ceremony, guest speaker Alaska Sen. Mark Begich noted the long history of contributions made by Army reservists. But today’s reserve is especially vital to U.S. interests, he said.
“There is no doubt that without the Army Reserve we could not achieve our objectives,” Begich said. “The Army reserve is no longer a strategic reserve, but an operational force in the world’s-greatest Army.”
This was the fifth annual National Capitol Reenlistment Ceremony held on Capitol Hill.