Unique Reenlistment Ceremony Connects Army Couple


CAMP HUMPHREYS -- Everyday, at reenlistment ceremonies around the world, Soldiers raise their right arm and take a pledge to defend the Constitution of the United States.

Standing before a video camera in Afghanistan, Capt. Sharonda Smith, assigned to the U.S. Army's 25th Signal Battalion, administered just such an oath to her husband, a platoon sergeant serving in South Korea, during a unique reenlistment ceremony conducted via video teleconference, Oct. 18.

In reaffirming his oath of enlistment more than 3,200 miles apart from his wife, Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Smith, with Alpha Company, 304th Signal Battalion, again joined the ranks of those called to duty, by committing to a life of service for his Nation and fellow Soldiers.

"Today was important to me because I love taking care of Soldiers," said Joshua. "In our Army we have a lot of young Soldiers and they need experienced leaders to help and mentor them."

With 11 months of service in Afghanistan already under her belt, Sharonda recently volunteered for a second tour, to serve as a company commander.

Joshua's yearlong assignment in Korea comes to an end next month, and he too volunteered for a tour of duty in Afghanistan, to be closer to his wife.

No strangers to overseas assignments, both husband and wife have served "down range" before.

"My wife also deployed during the first Gulf War and I served as a Military Transition Team member in Iraq," said Joshua.

He said the hardest part of any deployment is being separated from family and friends.

"I try to call or write my wife as much as possible," said Joshua. "And I really appreciate the garrison's help in bringing us together for today's ceremony."

In congratulating Joshua on his decision to reenlist, Lt. Col. Mark Parker, 304th Signal Battalion commander, described him as a hard working, dedicated Soldier.

"Every time we've called upon him to take on difficult assignments or additional duties, he's risen to the challenge," said Parker.

The unique ceremony was made possible, in part, through the cooperation and support provided by U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys' Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

"When asked if we could make this happen, my immediate answer was yes," said Jason Best, the garrison's installation operations specialist. "Our mission here at Camp Humphreys is to take care of Soldiers and Families and I'm glad we were able to help this Family connect for such an important ceremony."

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