Reenlistment clarity

August 2010


Since my retirement, one of the things I miss the most is a simple, fundamental thing – Reenlistment Ceremonies.

It didn’t matter if I were doing them or someone else was. There is something about a man or woman leaning into the calling and committing themselves to further service to their nation, and all that goes along with it.

I don’t think I ever went to a “bad” one, but some were more memorable than others – ones with wives, husbands, and children were always good. Sometimes – the preliminary comments went one a bit too much perhaps – I always thought pithy was always best.

Pithy is not my strong suit, so when I see it done right – it sticks out. I wanted to share with you one of the better Reenlistment statements I have seen; providing the right perspective for those signing up for more service.

Congratulations on your Reenlistment!

By taking this oath in the presence of your shipmates, you have made a promise for continued dedication and fidelity to the service of your country. President John F. Kennedy would agree, as he said in 1963, “.any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.'”

Your decision to continue to serve this great Nation requires a rare courage displayed by very few. As you sign your name today, you join those hallowed ranks of heroes who voluntarily chose to do something for someone besides themselves – to defend our Constitution, to keep our families safe, and to protect those people across the globe not strong enough to protect themselves.

I am humbled to be in your presence, and I am awed by your willingness to serve in such a noble and brave cause. No enemy can stand for long against the fearless dedication of the men and women of the Black Raven team. From this day forward, you can forever hold your head high with pride, and tell your family that you served in the greatest Navy that the world has ever seen. Your Brothers- and Sisters-in-Arms salute you, congratulate you, and welcome you back into this elite band of warriors committed to freedom. In the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, “Life has a flavor that those who do not fight to protect it will never know.”


If you like what you read – the name might sound familiar. CDR Ware was guest on the 17JUN10 Episode of Midrats as we discussed the subject of Command at Sea. You can hear more from him here.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy, Podcasts
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  • KhakiPants

    Although it can be very unassuming. I happened to be with a LT, doing other stuff, when we stopped by the local enlisted recruiter. And he was approached by a female sailor who said, “Sir, I’m glad I bumped into you today, you’re going to be reenlisting officer.” LT was all like, “cool.” And it just happened. Despite the lack of “ceremony” it was still clearly important, and I think the LT was delighted that he was asked to do it.

    It is thus far the only reenlistment ceremony I’ve seen, such as it was, but its informality didn’t detrect from the experience.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    The most epic I was almost apart of was going to be while sky diving. My old CO was ALL for it. But, he though it prudent to ask the ISIC JAG just to be sure… Shortly there after I learned that JAG is another term for ‘fun sponge’ (at least while on duty).

    The most memorable ceremonies I’ve attended (my first enlistment is not yet up) have always been for ETs. That 3 or so minuets between being discharged and then reenlisted always allowed for something interesting to be said. I’m not going to mention the parties held afterward…

  • Senior Chief Salty

    I have been in for quite a while and I can still remember my enlistment oath and every re-enlistment therafter. It can be quite an emotional time for a Sailor. I have also had the great honor of re-enlisting Sailors, though in the last few years things have changed and it now requires an officer to administer the oath.

    There is something special about an individual knowlingly entering into that contract. I try to make every ceremony onboard, and each one is unique. I will agree with YN2, there is always something interesting to be said.

  • Curtis

    My favorite was the Command Master Chief of a DD in overhaul in Seattle who took the full 24 hours out of the navy before reenlisting. He showed the mayor and mrs of Seattle how a Master Chief pulls up his socks at our Christmas Party. He dropped trousers and then reached into each leg of his pants to pull up his socks and then pulled up his trousers…as a civilian. Very funny.