When a service member reenlists, they are basically signing a contract all over again. Unlike the first time they took the oath, before boot camp, this time they know what they are signing up for. Some people keep it simple and might just have a cake to celebrate. Others like to take it to the next level.
Ashley Carter, a sergeant in the Army Reserves, took her most recent oath at a Pittsburgh Steelers game as part of a mass reenlisment ceremony. It was a home game for the Steelers, playing against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“The Army band was there, as well as many other military members and new recruits from all branches like the Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard,”
Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper administered the oath after everyone had ceremoniously marched out onto the field.
“The whole experience was an opportunity I will most likely never have again in my military career,” Carter said.
After Carter decided to reenlist, a reenlistment officer from her Reserve unit asked her if she was interested in attending a mass reenlistment ceremony. She agreed to it before knowing all the details, and she certainly was surprised.
“When he contacted me I originally didn’t know that the reenlistment ceremony was going to be at the Pittsburgh Steelers game,” Carter said. “I definitely didn’t know it was going to be on the actual field in front of thousands of people.”
There may have been thousands of people at the game, but it was one member of the crowd who made it special for Carter.
“The military has done a lot of great things for me so far, and I am excited that I was able to share my reenlistment with thousands of people at that game, but especially with my Dad who came to the game with me just to watch my reenlistment,” Carter said. “He served in the Air Force and was one of the main reasons for me joining from the very beginning.”
Carter spoke about the opportunities the military has given her. Some people use the chances to do something unique when they reenlist.
Spc. Sierra Hill, a Soldier with 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, reenlisted on a zipline at Chaubattia Military Station, India, in September 2018. Maj. Gen. William Graham, the I Corps deputy commanding general, administered the oath during Exercise Yudh Abhyas 18.
Sgt. Velasquez from 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, took advantage of her time in Afghanistan and reenlisted while an M777 Howitzer fired in September 2018.
For my first reenlistment, I was going to reenlist at the top of Mount Etna, the volcano in Sicily. However, I wound up going on leave, and didn’t want to rush back for the reenlistment. My command was really understanding and let me reenlist in Venice instead.
I thought we were going to do it on the Rialto bridge. Instead we did it under the bridge, while riding in a gondola. I am so happy that the colonel and the master chief were so great. They even paid for the gondola ride.
These ceremonies should be a time of celebration and a pleasant memory. However, sometimes things can get out of hand, as a Tennessee Air National Guard master sergeant, and her colonel, learned the hard way.
It started out innocently enough. Master sergeant Robin Brown had someone shoot video of the ceremony, so she could share the moment with her three children. She did something that she thought her kids would enjoy.
Unfortunately for her, reenlisting with a dinosaur puppet on your hand is not considered good military bearing. Worse yet, she shared the video on social media, and it went viral.
The colonel was fired, and the master sergeant lost her position at the public affairs office. Yes, I did just say public affairs office. That is the part that made me angry when I heard about this in April. Working in public affairs, I would expect better from her.
So, anyone looking for good reenlistment ideas should avoid this one. However, there are plenty of ideas out there, from the sky like in a jet or while skydiving, all the way to under the sea.