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NEWS | Oct. 22, 2018

SECARMY gives the Oath at mass enlistment ceremony at Steelers game

By 1st Lt. Anthony Richards 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Typically, future Soldiers are sworn-in by an officer upon medical in-processing into their chosen branch of service. Current service members have a well-documented history of somewhat unique re-enlistment ceremonies. However, on September 16, more than 120 current and future service members enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from the Pittsburgh Steelers organization to take the Oath of Enlistment in front of thousands of team fans at the Pittsburgh Steelers home-opening game versus the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field. 

Minutes before the 1 p.m. kickoff, Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark T. Esper administered the oath to members representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

"Taking the Oath means a great thing. It's young Americans, the best our Nation has to produce — men and women who are signing up to defend the Constitution of the United States to protect us all.” said Esper, during the ceremony. As he met with the recruits before the event, he talked with the group and learned why they joined and highlighted its benefits. "You get get a great career along the way as well. You learn some fantastic skills, the Army is a great place to be. We want to see more and more Americans coming to our branch of service,” he added. 

The city of Pittsburgh is a community partner of the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. The event marked the second consecutive year the 316th ESC was invited to participate in a military-focused event during a Steelers regular season home game.

Patricia Rooney, the wife of the late Steelers Chairman, Dan Rooney, walked the tunnel entrance and shook hands with many of the service members as they awaited to march onto the field and perform the oath. She said that seeing all these young people joining the military warmed her heart, especially being from Pittsburgh, in front of the people of Pittsburgh. 

Among the soldiers who recited the Oath of Enlistment was Sgt. David Lynch of the 316th ESC. Lynch is a human resources specialist who recently returned from a nine-month deployment to Syria. 

“Two deployments have shaped me with leadership opportunities and experience,” said Lynch, who believes his duties in leadership positions have led to civilian employment. He currently works for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as a Distribution Supervisor.

With a new commitment to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve, Sgt. Lynch plans to use Army education benefits to continue his education beyond his master’s degree and attend Officer Candidate School in 2019.

Staff Sgt. Maria Cowan, a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic in the 303rd Tactical Psychological Operations Company, Coraopolis, Pa., was among the service members sworn-in by the Secretary of the Army. 

“The experience was awesome, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve received tickets to many games, enlisted in different places, but never in front of Pittsburgh fans at a Steelers game. It makes it so much more special in front of thousands of people because its like you have all this support … all these people cheering you on and are proud that you’re doing it” said Cowan.

Also present for the ceremony was Maj. Gen. Frank M. Muth, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, and Brig. Gen. Robert D. Harter, commanding general, 316th ESC.

The U.S. Army Recruiting Command and its local recruiters from the Pittsburgh Recruiting Company were present outside of Heinz Field for the day and manned fan-interactive displays that included an “Extreme Truck” and realistic heavy weapons training aids. 

Additionally, the U.S Army Herald Trumpets performed the national anthem following the mass swear-in ceremony that culminated with a flyover, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

The enlistment event was organized by the 316th ESC, Coraopolis, Pa. The 316th ESC commands 89 units with approximately 8,000 soldiers in units from Pennsylvania to Maine. Its mission is to provide command and control of Army Reserve combat service support units both stateside and overseas. Since the 316th was activated in 2007, it has deployed to Iraq and Kuwait three times in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.