Soldiers commemorate ‘Team 19’ anniversary with reenlistment ceremony at Camp Walker
CAMP WALKER, South Korea – On the anniversary of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s 55th year, the legacy of service and commitment were on display as 19 Soldiers from “Team 19” raised their right hand to reenlist and reconfirm their oath at Kelly Field House, July 15.
“It’s an honor for me to stand in front of you, and as my first official act, administer this oath to each of you,” said Brig. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, the 19th ESC’s new commanding general.
Over the past few years, the Army has refocused its efforts on attracting new recruits and exploring initiatives to retain the best and brightest. According to Master Sgt. Christina Starnes, the U.S. Army Reserve career component counselor for Area IV and Japan, “Team 19” may have a leg up in helping the Army reach its retention goals.
“I think the Soldiers who reenlist here realize the importance of having a present mission in their minds every day, and they know their job makes a difference for everyone back home,” said the 26-year veteran from Dallas, Texas. “The command climate, along with the welcoming arms of the Korean people and the ROK-US Alliance, all play an important role in successfully promoting continued service.
Many of the Soldiers who took part in reenlisting echoed Starnes’ comments.
“We are the largest forward-deployed expeditionary sustainment command in the Army,” said Cpl. Frank Purnell, a religious affairs specialist assigned to 94th Military Police Battalion. “It’s an honor to be able to reenlist as a member of ‘Team 19,’”
Purnell said he made the choice to continue his service because he was advancing in rank and wanted to continue to guide Soldiers while improving himself personally and professionally.
The Pembroke Pines, Florida native will remain with 19th ESC until February 2020 when he transitions to Fort Eustis, Virginia.
Sgt. Daniele Cena acknowledged her reenlistment was a red-letter day for her for many reasons.
“I have always known I wanted to make the military a career; it was never an option,” added the Riverside, California native who was also participating in her first reenlistment.
Cena who supports the 19th ESC as a military police officer with 55th Military Police Company at Camp Casey said she as proud to continue a family tradition.
“My father, Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Fowler, is retiring this year,” said Cena. “I saw what [his career] did for him and for our family, and I wanted that for myself.”
Cena who has been on the peninsula for only four months acknowledged her “Red Lion” team has gone above any beyond and reinforces her desire to continue to serve.
“They drive me to be better, and they’ve made me a better NCO,” said Cena. “They care about their Soldiers and the mission, and it feels like a family here.”
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