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Begich Addresses Soldiers at Army Reserve Reenlistment Ceremony

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today joined soldiers from every state and U.S. territory for The National Capitol Reenlistment Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Lieutenant General Jack Stultz, Chief of the U.S. Army Reserve, reenlisted 60 soldiers and non-commissioned officers to mark the 102nd anniversary of the Army Reserve.

Soldiers, including Staff Sergeant Jason Dowdy of Anchorage, were selected for their accomplishments and overwhelming dedication to the Army Reserve. Begich, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, was honored to be asked to speak at the event.

His comments are below:

“Thanks, General Stultz - appreciate your leadership of the Army Reserve. Army Reservists are citizens and soldiers. You support the nation and you support your communities. And your communities should support you.

“Under the leadership of Lieutenant General Stultz, the Army Reserve is expanding its partnerships with communities and improving family programs.  Key initiatives include the Army Reserve Virtual Installation program and the Employer Partnership program. The Employer Partnership program establishes important long-term relationships with employers.  

“As a supporter of the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve program in Alaska, I know just how important employer support is for the reserve components. These partnerships and programs are instrumental to supporting our Reservists, and I look forward to working with Lieutenant General Stultz on these initiatives, and commend his work on them.

“I am pleased to join you here today at the 5th Annual National Capitol Reenlistment Ceremony on the 102nd Anniversary of the Army Reserve. It is an honor to be here to witness soldiers demonstrating a strong commitment to the nation, the military and their families. Sixty soldiers will reenlist. For some of you, your decision to reenlist may have been more difficult than your original decision to serve.   Yet you have decided to continue your service today.

“Among you are combat veterans and Hurricane Katrina volunteers. Also among us is a Silver Star recipient – Sergeant Kyle Turner. In 2004, he was awarded a Silver Star for his heroic actions during a fire fight while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sergeant Turner, thank you for your heroism and sacrifice for our country.             

“Also among you is a constituent of mine and fellow Alaskan - Staff Sergeant Jason Dowdy.  He is accompanied by his wife Tamika and their two children. Staff Sergeant Dowdy has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  He currently serves as a Section Sergeant in the U.S. Army Hospital Detachment 1 in Anchorage.

“Jason and Tamika, thank you for your service and dedication to the country.

“To all the family members present, I wish to thank you as well. No doubt, you have played an important role in your loved ones decision to continue serving. Your enduring support and selfless sacrifice is vital to our all-volunteer force.

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees, I am a proud advocate of the Army Reserves. I’m a supporter of equitable compensation packages for Reservists as you spend more time in an operational status, strengthening re-employment provisions, and lowering the retirement age – just to name a few. 

“Rest assured, as the Army Reserves role evolves as it has the last century, Congress will continue to support you. As you all know, the Army Reserve has long history – 102 years to be exact – of defending and supporting the nation. There is not a military mission or humanitarian operation the Army Reserve has not participated in since its creation in 1908.

“Today, more than 190,000 Army Reservists have been mobilized to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Your contributions to efforts in the Middle East the last nine years are incalculable. There is no doubt, without the Army Reserve we could not achieve our objectives.

“The Army Reserve is no longer a strategic reserve, but an operational force in the world’s greatest Army.  From civil works projects during the Great Depression to Iraq and Afghanistan to delivering relief in Haiti, you have been there. And we have been able to count on you.  

“For those of you taking the oath of reenlistment today, we will continue to count on you and know that you will not let us down.  The significance of your decision speaks volume of your commitment, courage and dedication to service.

“I am honored to be a part of this ceremony.  Thank you.”

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