Reenlistment

The Instapundit writes a blurb about the largest reenlistment ceremony in history. Well over a thousand people shipping over for another 5000 man-years of service.

I’ve noticed a tendency lately to make these big productions. Same thing for people entering the service. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just wouldn’t want to do it that way.

When you join the Army, you actaully enlist twice. When you go to sign up, you enlist in the Army Reserves, without pay, and without having to go to drill. When the time comes to  go on active duty and go to Basic Training, you enlist again, this time in the Regular Army.

Way back in April of ’85, I went, took the physical, looked at the jobs they offered me, and took the oath of enlistment into the reserves. Some officer I never saw before nor after administered the oath.

But on the moring of September 11, 1985, when the time came to enlist in the Regular Army and report to active duty, things were a little different. The officer who administered the Oath? I knew him fairly well, but never as well as I had wished. See, he was my father. The law requires that the oath be administered by an officer. That officer can be retired, like my father was, but he must be in uniform. And so, my father put on his service uniform, for the first time in seven years, had me swear an oath, said goodbye and went home. To the best of my knowledge, he never wore it again.

When it comes time to reenlist, most units will give your wishes about the ceremony some consideration. If you have a particular officer that you wish to administer it, they will work to arrange it. I reenlisted twice while in Colorado. The first time, the Battalion CO led the ceremony. I’d known him well in a previous post, and greatly admired him. My last enlistment, I asked my Platoon Leader to do it. He was a young, bright idealistic officer with an uncommon dash of common sense. My Platoon Sergeant and I  reenlisted together. Nice, small, cozy ceremony, keeping it “in the family” almost.

I’m sure there’s something stirring about being in a large ceremony like the one Instapundit links. Those folks will always be able to say that GEN Petraeus swore them in. But I liked my way better.

4 thoughts on “Reenlistment”

  1. Heh, my dad administered my oath of enlistment as well. He wore his uniform again at my wedding, and the damned thing still fit him perfectly even though it had been tailored for him in 1962. I wonder if my BDU’s would still fit!

  2. Best reenlistment ever – I was travelling for business on a training course. A select group of USAF NCOs were also at the same hotel for a conference. One of them needed to reenlist and luckily one of our number was an Air Force Officer and had his uniform. As the only other military officer, I stood in as witness and provided the new reenlisted member a coin from my unit. It was spontaneous and very cool.

  3. For I while there, you squids were getting creative. I’ve seen divers reup underwater, and several times folks reupped midair, either in H-3s or even a Prowler. Me? Front steps of the Bn HQ. Or back in the platoon leaders cage.

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