MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- In a ceremony that emphasized 'Stay Marine,' 155 Marines reenlisted here today outside Building H-1.
"I want to better my career and lifestyle," said Quincy, Fla., native Cpl. Mitchell Curry, a cook at the 8th Marine Regiment mess hall here.
Curry, who reenlisted for the first time, was accompanied by fiancée Tanshell Hackey. Hackey, of Pamlico County, said she supported Curry's career goals and looked forward to becoming a Marine's wife.
An estimated 200 other family members and 100 fellow Marines and Sailors watched as each reenlisting service member raised their right hand as the 'Oath of Enlistment' was read. Assistant 2nd Marine Division Commander Brig. Gen. Richard A. Huck administered the oath and individually congratulated each Marine as they filed out of formation. Huck thanked each Marine and handed each a 2nd Marine Division coin.
Division Career Planner Master Sgt. James Miller said a ceremony this size was highly unusual, and it was the plan of Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Robert Blackman.
Miller, a Dewitt, Iowa, native, said Blackman and the Division Career Planner Office held the ceremony to show young Division Marines they were not alone in their decision to stay Marine. Miller said an opportunity to reenlist in an environment such as this can take away some of the peer pressure that often accompanies an enlistment decision.
Career Planner Gunnery Sgt. John Laperriere, who is with Division's 2d Tank Battalion, said there are many Marines who reenlist because they love the Corps, but there are others that look toward the benefits.
"You have to lay it out and take care of your Marines," Laperriere explained. "You have to offer them incentives such as drill instructor and cadre duties. And also an opportunity to be a Marine security guard or recruiter."
Miller explained there are other benefits available for reenlisting Marines depending on their military occupational specialty. He said many MOSs offer service record book bonuses to first term Marines, and lateral move opportunities if a Marine wants to learn a new job. He said improved pay is also a factor in Marines today reenlisting.
"What many don't realize is we're going to get raises one-half percentage point above the private sector through 2006," he said. "Many that reenlisted were made aware of this and compared it to the one-half percentage point below that it used to be."
According to Miller, this is the type of ceremony that Division hopes will become a regular occurrence. Currently, the Division Career Planner Office is looking to host a similar ceremony in early November in the time frame of the Marine Corps' birthday.