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NEWS | Sept. 5, 2018

Reserve Soldiers remain "Twice the Citizen" in mass re-enlistment ceremony

By Sgt. Christopher Jackson 363rd Public Affairs Detachment

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers renewed their oath of service to the United States of America during a mass re-enlistment ceremony at an Omaha Storm Chasers baseball game in Papillion, Nebraska, Aug. 30.

There were 22 Warrior Citizens that re-enlisted just behind home plate. One Soldier, who has been serving his country for more than seven years, said his decision was simple and similar to why he originally joined.

“It was very easy,” said Pfc. Nathan Longwell, a mechanic with the 443rd Transportation Company in Omaha. “[I re-enlisted] to help my family out, and because I feel like I haven’t fully done my duty.” Longwell, formerly on active duty, is a diesel mechanic as a civilian and a Lincoln native.

Retention is important to the outlook of America’s fighting force, but the Army Reserve aims to keep only capable, lethal and combat-ready Soldiers. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve in the United States Army Reserve,” said Sgt. Maj. Meredith Kunkel, sergeant major of the 8th Battalion, Army Reserve Careers Division, originally from Menomonie, Wisconsin. “As with every organization, we strive for quality.”

There can be struggles associated with being a Citizen Soldier. They must be persistent in finding a balance between their civilian employment while staying combat-ready.

“There is a little bit of a hardship on the shop for those weekends and weeks when I’m gone,” said Longwell, who recently returned from a two-week annual training event in California. “My civilian boss is pro military, and he allows me to take care of anything I need to take care of on the military side.” 

The Omaha Storm Chasers host annual military appreciation nights to salute members of the armed forces and veterans. Events like these provide a public platform for Soldiers to reenlist and the opportunity to strengthen relationships between the Army Reserve and local communities.

“I think it is pretty great that they allow us to do things like this,” said Longwell when speaking about his experience on the field. “It always feels good to re-enlist.”

The ceremony lasted merely a few minutes but is a positive sign for the future of the U.S. Army Reserve.

“Re-enlisting Soldiers affects retention as Soldiers are continuing to serve our great nation,” said Sgt. Maj. Kunkel. “Through time and experience, Soldiers continue to advance in their careers, take on additional skill sets and lead junior Soldiers.”