WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. –
For young men and woman who choose to join the U.S. Army, their first steps as Soldiers usually take place at a Military Entrance Processing Station with only a few family members there to congratulate them on their decision to serve. A simple ceremony that only lasts about a minute, resulting in the lifetime title of Army Soldier.
But for 32 of the Army’s newest recruits, their enlistment ceremony was anything but simple.
Standing on the 18th green at The Greenbrier Country Club in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, surrounded by friends, family and hundreds of spectators, 32 future Soldiers recited the words many before them have spoken to become an Army Soldier.
The Greenbrier hosted A Military Tribute from Sept. 9-15 to pay homage to all who have served and their commitment to service. The week-long golf tournament consisted of a Patriot Day tribute, static military equipment displays and the enlistment ceremony.
“I’ve always wanted to join the Army,” said Kyle Tucker, a future Soldier from West Virginia. “I want to help serve everyone in the Army and help them to become better people and better Soldiers.”
When asked what he was looking forward to most in joining the Army, Tucker did not hesitate.
“I’m most excited about the adventure,” he said. “I’ve lived in Morgantown my entire life. I want to go out and see the world.”
Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general, Army Training and Doctrine Command, led the enlistment ceremony.
“It’s my great pleasure to be here at The Greenbrier where we are conducting a salute to service,” said Funk, who oversees the Army's recruiting efforts. “It is a tremendous opportunity to recognize what it means to serve our great nation.”
In a matter of minutes, hundreds watched as 32 young men and women raised their right hand and recited the Oath of Enlistment. After taking the time to personally congratulate each Soldier, Funk offered a few words of advice he hoped they would carry with them through Basic Training, and beyond.
“Be prepared to leave your jersey in a better place every day,” Funk said. “Get ready for something that is going to change your life – and then be ready to have some fun, too. Life as a Soldier is a journey, not a destination.”
While many of these young individuals look forward to their unique jobs and the different duty stations at which they will serve along the way, two things unite them: their service and the memory they share of their first steps as Army Soldiers.
"It is an incredible honor to watch these young men and women realize their career potential by becoming Soldiers in our Army," said Lt. Col. Andrew Burgess, commander, U.S. Army Richmond Recruiting Battalion. "The words they recited today during the oath of enlistment ceremony will strengthen their personal call to service, and ensure their success as a highly respected Army Soldier."