View Full Version : Career Marine plans to have a ball with his reenlistment

11-12-03, 07:02 AM
Career Marine plans to have a ball with his reenlistment
November 10,2003

Reenlisting Marines, according to Kyle Kennedy, fall into one of two categories: "It's raise my right hand and get it over with or do something special."

Kennedy, a gunnery sergeant, is part of the latter.

A precision measuring equipment chief with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron-29, Kennedy will raise his right hand and recite again the Marine Corps Oath of Enlistment tonight as he celebrates the Marine Corps birthday at his squadron's Birthday Ball in New Bern.

"The Marine Corps birthday is something special," said Kennedy, 37. "To make (the reenlistment) something special, I wanted to do it with the birthday ball."

For the 16-year career Marine, this will be his second reenlistment that coincides with the Marine Corps birthday. Kennedy's previous reenlistment took place while he was on recruiting duty in Manchester, N.H., home to the Manchester Expeditionary Brigade, an organization of retired and former Marines similar to Jacksonville's Regiment of Retired Marines. That 1999 reenlistment was held at the Manchester Expeditionary Brigade's annual celebration of the Marine Corps birthday.

However, this year will mark the first reenlistment that his wife, Ruth, can attend.

The Kennedys have been married nearly 12 years and were dating before Kyle enlisted.

"She's been with me my entire career and seen a lot of it - the good and the bad," said Kennedy of the woman he met in their shared Marlboro, Mass., hometown.

When he told her of his reenlistment plans, said Kennedy, "She was excited … she's a big part of the things I've done in the Marine Corps, so now she can be a part of (the reenlistment).

"I don't quite see her going with me to the gas chamber to reenlist," he added, referring to some of the other locations chosen by Marines who want a unique or more personal reenlistment ceremony.

The MALS-29 career planner, Staff Sgt. David Mason, has seen a few of those special reenlistment requests: at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, with a V-22 Osprey, at the Beirut Memorial.

"Everyone has a different way of doing it, how they want it done," said Mason, who sees most Marines confine their reenlistment ceremonies to their unit's home. "It all depends on what they want. It's their time, their moment.

"It was good having something different. I like having reenlistments that are unique, different," added Mason, for whom the birthday ball reenlistment is a first. But, he added, "Marines do reenlist there. It's just a good place to do it. What better place than at a ball?"

Obviously, Kennedy, who will take his oath in front of Maj. William E. Sauls, avionics officer of the squadron, agreed.

"There's a lot of what we do that has to do with tradition … the old breed, the old Corps," said Kennedy, who sees the other services distancing themselves from that sense of history. "It's that simple thing of 'Once a Marine, always a Marine.'

"With the ball, all the Marines are there, and the day that it is, it's a day for all Marines," Kennedy added. "There's just a certain sense of camaraderie with being a Marine, especially on that day."