By Spc. Sharla Lewis
1st Cavalry Division public affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - In an oath, members of the military affirm their commitment to the U.S. Constitution, the president and ultimately, each other. By attesting their true faith and allegiance to those appointed over them, they enter a family of patriots and comrades-in-arms.
Like an initial enlistment into the armed forces, a re-enlistment ceremony binds a service member who is already fulfilling their contract to additional years of service. An appointed officer administers the oath of enlistment and often the soldier's family is present.
In a rare opportunity Oct. 5, Cpl. Shawn Revell and his wife Spc. Kayla Revell strengthened the bonds of their family and their commitment to the military at a mass re-enlistment ceremony together with others from 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq by Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, the deputy commanding general of operations for United States Forces-Iraq.
Shawn, an infantryman, is with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment and Kayla, a human intelligence collector is with Alpha Military Intelligence Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. While Shawn is stationed at Contingency Operating Base Basrah, Kayla works at Contingency Operating Base Adder in southern Iraq, and both are scheduled to return home to the U.S. by year's end.
Both soldiers said re-enlisting was something they had planned to do as soon as they realized they would be deploying in 2011. Participating in the ceremony side by side, however, was beyond their realm of possibility until recently.
"This is one of the coolest experiences I've had in my military career," Shawn said. "To find out that there was a ceremony right at the time that we wanted to re-enlist was perfect."
At the ceremony, Shawn and Kayla stood next to each other in a formation of more than 100 soldiers, seven of which were from the Greywolf Brigade.
As Helmick delivered the oath of re-enlistment, the couple raised their right hand and recited in unison, "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…"
Other troopers also re-enlisted for their families, such as Sgt. Holly Hinton, a medic with Charlie Medical Company, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, who said she re-enlisted to be able to provide for her daughter.
Hinton has been with 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade since 2006 after a break in service and working multiple jobs to try to give her daughter the life she deserved. Now able to do that, Hinton said she planned to make the military a career and was happy to be able to have such a memorable re-enlistment ceremony.
"I'm a lifer," she said. "My friend Reyes re-enlisted in a (medical evacuation helicopter), so I had to find something cool to top that. When I heard about this, I jumped at the chance."
After the ceremony, the participants lined up with their certificates to meet the general and his right-hand man, Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Rice.
Seven Greywolf troopers reaffirmed their commitment to the U.S. that day. Since the ceremony, 156 Soldiers in 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade have re-enlisted, and the brigade expects 150 more by Christmas.