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American Forces Press Service

Multinational Corps Iraq Tops Retention Goal Six Weeks Early

American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Aug. 16, 2007 – Multinational Corps Iraq met its command retention goals yesterday, more than six weeks ahead of schedule.

“We’ve actually exceeded the goals,” said Army Master Sgt. Connie Davis, the command’s career counselor. Traditional categories for re-enlistment are initial (first re-enlistment), mid-careerist and careerist soldiers.

“Meeting and exceeding re-enlistment goals is a powerful message about the commitment of today’s force and how our soldiers feel about the Army and their mission,” said Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Multinational Corps Iraq commander. “When soldiers re-enlist, I consider it a vote to stay with the family, the Army family. These are incredible men and women who understand the importance of their service and know they are making a difference. I’m proud to be a member of their family.”

The overall goal for the command’s retention counselors was for 16,510 soldiers to re-enlist by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. As of yesterday, the command had re-enlisted 18,721 soldiers, Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Gardner, a Multinational Corps Iraq career counselor, said.

Though the total figures already were over goal, counselors could not say they had met retention goals until they had 5,945 mid-career re-enlistments. Figures as of yesterday put the mid-career re-enlistments at 5,958.

Officials cited many reasons for the high retention levels.

“The involvement of commanders at every level helps,” Gardner said.

Davis added that if soldiers feel like they belong with their unit and their chain of command has their well-being and interests at heart -- not only as a soldier, but also as a person -- they are more inclined to remain in the Army.

Enhanced re-enlistment bonuses helped, but “money may not have been the deciding factor in every case,” Davis said. “I think it could have been one of the last pros that helped.”

“Soldiers who believe in their fellow soldiers, their leaders and the Army for themselves and their families re-enlist,” Odierno said. “Even in the most complex and difficult combat operations in Iraq, their confidence and pride in their mission and each other are compelling factors in their decision to continue service.”

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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