Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, commanding general of the Army Reserve, administers the oath
of re-enlistment to 60 reserve soldiers, April 23rd in celebration of the 102nd
anniversary of the Army Reserve.
Sixty specially selected soldiers from every state and territory, Germany and Korea re-enlisted April 23 in the historic Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington as part of the Army Reserve’s celebration of its 102nd anniversary.
For Sgt. Jasson Kirby of Utah, the reason he joined the Army Reserve 15 years ago and why he re-enlisted was the pretty much the same then as now. “I wanted to better myself as a person. I want to better myself as a soldier.”
Sgt. Katrina Kroeger served on active duty but left and admitted “I loved the Army,” and had plans to return to uniform. When her children reached school age, she enlisted in the Army Reserve. “I felt I had left part of myself behind.”
When Justin Malzac was on active duty, he fell in love with his tour in Korea and set a goal for himself of finding a way he could go back to the Peninsula and get paid for doing it. Then route he took was to complete his degree and begin looking for work teaching English to Korean school children.
“I had no idea there was an Army Reserve unit there,” and soon enough, Malzac was back in uniform as a specialist.
Staff Sgt. Luis A. Mercado Rosa has been in the Army Reserve for 12 years. Following the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, he was one of mortuary affairs specialists sent from Puerto Rico to the Pentagon.
“I felt I had to give more to my fellow soldiers” and “I want to make sure the families are taken care of, so there is some closure.”
Standing in the back of the room holding Sgt. Kyle Turner’s drill instructor’s hat was Army Master Sgt. John T. Martin from the Army Reserve Career Division who helped pick the representative re-enlistees from candidates submitted by retention officers.
Turner, who received the Silver Star for his actions while serving on active duty in Iraq during 2004, remembered that about a month after he completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Sill, Okla., he was on his way toward Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After his experience there, “I wanted to be a drill sergeant,” but Turner also knew that he would not have the time to complete his degree in military history while on active duty. He joined the Army Reserve and intends to remain a soldier.
Looking back at his drill instructors, he said, “The trained me up enough to be deployed.” Knowing what he knows now, he wants his soldiers to be as prepared and as ready as he can make them. “They don’t have a lot of time to prepare. They need the best teachers.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, told the several hundred attendees in the audience, “What’s standing before you is a national treasure.”
He said they were all volunteers and either had enlisted or re-enlisted since 9/11 with the understanding they were likely to be deployed. “They were willing to do that in this time of extended conflict.”
Stultz thanked the soldiers’ families for their continuing support. “Without you, we couldn’t put this uniform on.” Adding, “You’re making that sacrifice too.”
Sen. Mark, Begich, D-Alaska, said, “Your communities should and do support you.” He specifically cited the Army Reserve’s efforts in creating virtual installations to offer families of all service members in all components a place where they can receive necessary information and the partnership agreements between the Army Reserve and a host of public and private employers to help their soldiers build careers in and out of the service.
“Congress will continue to support you. More than 190,000 [Army Reserve soldiers] have been mobilized and sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. We have been able to count on you.”
Staff Sgt. Pratik Ram was present by video teleconference from Germany. Because of the disruption of air traffic following the explosion of an Icelandic volcano, he was unable to come to Washington. His father was able to fly from India to Germany to be with his son for the ceremony.
This was the Army Reserve’s fifth annual re-enlistment ceremony at the Capitol.