BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – While visiting troops in Afghanistan, Chief, Army Reserve Jack Stultz re-enlists Army Reserve soldiers in Afghanistan.
Twenty-seven Army Reserve soldiers deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom met at Bagram for the rare opportunity to recite the enlistment oath administered by the Chief, Army Reserve, Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, on a recent visit to Afghanistan.
“It’s a great day to be a soldier,” Stultz said, addressing the audience. “I get a chance to get around the world and see great soldiers doing great things.”
The re-enlistment ceremony is one of the last to be performed by Stultz, who is nearing retirement and is traveling throughout Afghanistan visiting Army Reserve units.
Following the re-enlistment, Stultz handed out CAR challenge coins and re-enlistment certificates to the re-enlistees and posed for photographs with the soldiers, highlighting the auspicious occasion.
“It’s something different in my life,” said Spc. Jose Schettiny-Maldanado, 215th Military Police, a native of Puerto Rico. “They gave me the opportunity [to re-enlist] and I gladly accepted.”
The U.S. Army’s active-duty force is facing draw-downs, in part, because of the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the anticipated drawdown of combat troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Stultz emphasized the importance, however, of the Army Reserve in the restructuring of the reserve forces in the coming years.
“You have become an indispensable force,” Stultz said. “We can’t do what we do in the military, we can’t execute our national security strategy without the Army Reserve.”
Reductions in spending and personnel in the active Army have placed increased emphasis and dependability on the Army Reserve to support active Army elements.
“The active Army is being told to drawdown in size from around 570,000 to around 500,000,” said Stultz. “Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno said to me ‘Stay where you are at 205, 000, because you’re too critical. So, I can’t afford to cut you,” said Stultz.
“The Army Reserve has proven to Congress to be a great return on investment for this nation. What it costs us to maintain a reserve force is about a third of what it costs to sustain the active Army,” said Stultz.
“When we’re doing re-enlistment ceremonies like we just did, that is just huge, because that soldier raising their hand says ‘I want to stay with it.’ He’s got that talent- that talent that is here has combat experience now, signing up for another tour,” said Stultz.
Recognizing difficulties some reserve soldiers have in obtaining a job after deployment, Stultz initiated a work program about four years ago called the Employer Partnership Program which is designed to help employers find the talent that the Army Reserve has in abundance.
“The employers of America see you as gold,” Stultz said. “We initially started talking to employers about how we were going to sustain their support, while we pulled their employees away to be soldiers. What it morphed into was the employers talking to me about the challenge they have finding talent in employees.”
With the opportunities available both in the civilian sector and Army Reserve, opportunities for professional growth and development have never been better, and re-enlisting in the Army Reserve is all the more important and relevant.