KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – When a soldier decides to volunteer for another term of enlistment in the United States Army, there is more to the process than signing on a dotted line.
In this day and age the Army has restricted re-enlistments to soldiers who have demonstrated the ability to provide a long-term benefit to its ranks. Gone are the days of lofty retention goals. Now, soldiers are carefully reviewed by past performances and potential before being approved by their chain of commands to continue their service.
While the sun shined brightly down on a flight line at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, the 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), extended the enlistment of one their fine young non-commissioned officers.
Sgt. Jasmine Cotton, a native of Norristown, Pa., and signal support non-commissioned officer, Headquarters Company, 3rd STB, 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), pledged her second oath of enlistment at the Memorial Wall of the Fallen here at FOB Salerno, Sept. 26, 2012.
Sgt. Cotton became the first Rakkasan to raise their hand and take the oath of enlistment during their most recent deployment to Afghanistan.
Beginning the next chapter of her career in the U.S. Army with meaning was a priority of the young blossoming non-commissioned officer.
“I wanted to reenlist at the wall to represent the fallen soldiers and their units,” explained Cotton.
The wall was dedicated as a memorial to all the soldiers who have served at FOB Salerno on Memorial Day, May. 31, 2012. Below each unit insignia who have served here, you’ll find the names of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“The wall wasn’t here during my first deployment while at FOB Salerno, but seeing it stand now really means a lot to me,” said Cotton.
Although Cotton reenlisted for a future assignment to Fort Stewart, Ga., there was another reason behind her motivation to stay with the Army.
“It was the right thing to do and I wanted to continue my service to my country,” Cotton said.
To add to her special moment during this day, Sgt. Cotton made sure to pick a certain person to be the administer of the oath of enlistment.
“I wanted Maj. Gacheru to reenlist me because he has been a great leader, mentor and sees a lot of potential in me,” stated Cotton.
Maj. Michael Gacheru, who hails from Evanston, Ill., a battalion operations officer, 3rd STB, 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), was honored to have been chosen to be a part of this ceremony. To be picked by Sgt. Cotton to re-enlist her was a privilege and an honor; she is such a bright and talented young non-commissioned officer, said Gacheru.
Gacheru was happy to see the Army retention program do what is was designed to do; retain its best and brightest.
“It’s important that the Army keeps a hold of its quality men and women and today we are keeping a great NCO for the future of the Army,” Gacheru said with pride.
Today the Rakkasans retained one it’s best and brightest to serve within the ranks for years to come.