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Reenlistment gives feeling of pride, appreciation

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Wenesday Traylor
  • 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron

When you think of a reenlistment ceremony, what comes to mind?  A flag, an officer to do the deed and perhaps a cake? 


Federal law requires everyone who enlists or reenlists take an oath.  The Oath of Enlistment has been around since the establishment of the Continental Army.  The words have changed a little over the years but the sentiment has not. 


I had the honor and privilege to attend a reenlistment ceremony this past week.  I paused to reflect about the meaning of the oath and how thankful I am that fellow Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines make the decision to raise their right hand again.  


I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  So help me God.


Most of us first speak these words at the Military Entrance Processing Station.  Think back...big room and lots of people.  I don't recall a cake, but I do recall an intense feeling of pride in what I was doing. 


The words are uniform across all services, and to take this oath is to make a promise.  This promise sets us apart and requires us to abide by a stricter set of rules than most.  It is about discipline and values.  There is an expectation of excellence and integrity. 


There are plenty of material benefits that might entice us to reenlist...stability of a steady paycheck, medical benefits, housing benefits, college, and maybe even a bonus.   


However, when it comes right down to it, after considering deployments, long hours and the sacrifices made by our families, it is apparent that the non-tangibles keep us saying that oath again. 


It is the camaraderie, the pride, the service and commitment. Quite simply - it is about being a part of something bigger than yourself.  Next time you witness a reenlistment ceremony, remind yourself about what it is that you are promising to do - and don't forget to say thank you to the Airman who is reenlisting!