Record setting pace for re-enlistment

31 Oct 2006 | Pfc. Joseph D. Day

Marines in 2nd Marine Division said “Yes,” to four more years with the corps Oct., 26th.  Outside of the II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Building 56, Marines raised their right hand and took the oath of re-enlistment.

“It’s a great thing to come out here and have the commanding general re-enlist us,” said Lance Cpl. Michael H. Downs, an electrician with 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion.  “Being a Marine is a great experience.  I had a really good time with my first enlistment and I want to see what I can do in another four years here.”

Throughout the year there were many Marines who chose to stay in the Corps.  This year’s numbers are higher than expected, and there are over 400 first term Marines signing for another enlistment and over 60 career Marines signed for four more years.

“The Marine Corps is an all volunteer force,” said Maj. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin, 2nd Marine Division, Commanding General.  “It is very gratifying to have all these Marines come back and say they want to do it again.”

Gaskin, gave all the Marines a 2nd Marine Division Generals coin as he walked through the formation and individually congratulated them on their new commitment to the corps.

“The commanding general gave me a coin,” Downs said.  “For him to come out and give me and the rest of us a coin means a lot.  It makes me feel like I have renewed myself in the corps.”

These coins are given to the Marines as a token to remember where they and what they have done.

“They believe in the Marine Corps and our way of life,” Gaskin said.  “They believe, which means others will believe too.  That is what the Corps needs, these senior Marines leading the new ones we get in.”

The ceremony came to a close as the Marines stood at attention.  The 2nd Marine Division Band played the “Marine’s Hymn,” as they marched past those who continue to support their Corps for another enlistment.

“The Marines here are stepping up to the plate,” Gaskin said.  “I am proud of every single one of them.  They are doing something that is greater than themselves.”