The 3rd Infantry Division, headquartered at Fort Stewart, Ga.,
completed its fiscal year 2008 retention goal in less than six months,
which most view as a phenomenal act.
This is unprecedented according to the division’s retention sergeant
major. “I’ve been in this career field for 16 years, and I’ve never
known of a division to meet its goal in such a short time,” said Sgt.
Maj. Kelvin Raibon, the 3rd Infantry Division Retention sergeant major.
This is the division’s third deployment to Iraq since 2003, but its
high operational tempo did not stop 4,000 Soldiers from re-enlisting.
Even more troops will follow their lead, and by the end of March one
battalion with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, out of Fort Benning,
Ga., will have met its retention goal twice.
The 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment is four Soldiers away from retaining 200 percent of its goal.
These Soldiers are working together to defend their nation. This is
why they joined and why they re-enlisted, said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas
Olson, 3rd HBCT senior career counselor.
The 3rd Infantry Division, which is currently the headquarters for
Multi-National Division – Center in southwest Baghdad, arrived in
theater as part of the Surge. Its Soldiers are serving a 15-month
deployment with the combat mission to stop insurgents from bringing
bomb-making materials into Baghdad. Within the year, Soldiers have
secured most areas, and have begun working closely with the Iraqi
Security Forces and tribal leaders to build the economy and make life
better for its citizens.
Our soldiers in Iraq know they are making a difference -- and they want to continue to be a positive force in the world.