MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – -- After three years of faithful service to country and Corps, Marines come to a point in their career where they need to decide to either re-enlist or join the civilian workforce. For one group of Marines, re-enlisting was their number one choice on their list of future career goals.
The U.S. flag was raised as 32 Marines from 8th Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, II MEF, raised their right hands while reciting the Oath of Enlistment in front of family, friends and fellow warriors during a mass re-enlistment ceremony, Oct. 2.
“This is a great day for our Marine Corps and our nation,” said Lt. Col. Michael M. Sweeney, commanding officer, 8th Comm. Bn. “It speaks highly of their character as human beings to re-enlist in the Marine Corps with everything that is going on in the world today. They should be complimented for their professionalism, character and discipline they have displayed so far. These are the future leaders of our Corps.”
Although weighing the options of re-enlistment or transitioning out of the Marine Corps was a big event for the 32 Marines, the battalion’s senior leadership encouraged exploring all options before signing the dotted line.
“The tools are out there for Marines to be successful in their career. From the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, to different training seats such as jump school, the Corps really sells itself,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Mejia, career retention specialist, 8th Comm. Bn. “If Marines take time to explore what’s out there, they will be surprised at the many things they can do outside of their (military occupational specialty). They just have to give it a chance and also talk to their CRS.”
After being in the Corps for two years, Cpl. Christopher D. Jose, multichannel equipment repairman, 8th Comm. Bn., knew he wanted to stay after being afforded the opportunity to travel all over the world, though he had to wait to submit his package until his fiscal year came up.
“All the things I’ve done and places I’ve been able to go to helped influence my decision to re-enlist,” Jose said. “The people I have been fortunate to meet and work with helped shape me as a Marine. I was nervous about re-enlisting, just like every big thing you do, but now I’m excited and look forward to what the future holds for me.”
With so many incentives being offered, Sgt. Jeffrey C. Cheeseman, motor transport mechanic, 8th Comm. Bn., took advantage of these opportunities and submitted a package for his original MOS, but then decided on a lateral move.
“I submitted my re-enlistment package to stay in the motor transport field, but researched more of the jobs that had available boat spaces,” Cheeseman said. “I heard a lot about counter intelligence and did my research on it. After talking with the CRS, I pulled my original package and submitted for CI and was accepted. It feels great to re-enlist and I’m motivated to start my new training soon.”
With different incentives being offered such as lateral moves into different MOSs, selective re-enlistment bonus money for specific jobs, or choice of next duty station, all play a part in helping keeping the overall retention rate of the Marine Corps on par.
Marines who also participated in the mass re-enlistment ceremony were: Sgt. Heather L. Bloom, motor transport operator; Cpl. Daniel R. Boyer, tactical data network specialist; Cpl. Christopher R. Chapman, motor transport mechanic; Sgt. Michael K. Christensen, motor transport mechanic; Sgt. Kelly A. Delahoz, supply administration clerk; Cpl. Katesta L. Dinkins, field radio operator; Cpl. Alexander S. Doll, mobile multichannel equipment operator; Cpl. Christopher L. Farnsworth, telephone systems/personal computer intermediate repairman; Sgt. Ebony A. Freeman, mobile multichannel equipment operator; Cpl. Calvin L. Griffin, motor transport operator; Sgt. Kevin R. Hulsey, motor transport operator; Cpl. William H. Huntley III, logistics vehicle system operator; Cpl. Erik J. Johnson, construction wireman; Sgt. Shaun L. Livingston, supply administration clerk; Cpl. Ricky L. Locklear, motor transport operator; Cpl. Zenon Maldonado, ground communication organizational repairman; Cpl. Russ E. McClain, motor transport operator; Cpl. Nichole L. McKay, data network specialist; Cpl. Joseph W. McNear, logistics vehicle system operator; Lance Cpl. Christian J. O’Neal, tactical data network specialist; Sgt. Jonathan E. Plassman, ground mobile forces satellite communication operator; Cpl. Eric P. Quintin, field radio operator; Cpl. Michael A. Tabb, administration clerk; Sgt. Charles T. Tatum Jr., ground movable forces satellite communication operator; Cpl. Alphonso T. Tyler, ground communication organizational repairman; Cpl. Elmer E. Wilson, unit level circuit switch operator/maintainer.
Although many Marines have re-enlisted already, there is still time to submit a re-enlistment package. For more information on re-enlistment incentives, lateral moves and other re-enlistment options, contact your unit CRS.