01/29/06 — General performs re-enlistment ceremony

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General performs re-enlistment ceremony

By Turner Walston
Published in News on January 29, 2006 2:07 AM

Nine local reservists renewed their commitment to the U.S. Air Force Reserves Saturday in front of their national commander.

Lt. Gen. John Bradley, commander of the Air Force Command at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, administered the Air Force oath to some members of the 916th Air Refueling Wing during a re-enlistment ceremony at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Bradley was in town this week to inspect troops and to visit the wing.

The airmen swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and to obey the orders of the President in front of Bradley and about 100 other reservists.

After administering the oath, Bradley congratulated the airmen and presented them with a commander's coin.

"I'm proud to get to re-enlist these folks," Bradley said. "I'd like to encourage any of you to re-enlist. I'll be glad to come back to re-enlist any of you."

He also acknowledged the work of the 916th.

"Thanks for working for us. I know that you all do a heck of a lot of work for us. It's a great outfit to be in, you do lot of hard work, you've done some great things for us, and I'd like to encourage you to stay with us," he said.

Master Sgt. Brian Sterling, 40, of Kernersville, re-enlisted for six years. A reservist for 21 years, Sterling is in charge of non-destructive investigations, or "checking aircraft for damage without actually tearing it apart." He performs the same duty in his civilian job, with TIMCO Aviation.

Sterling said it was an honor to say his oath in front of the Air Force Reserves commander.

"It feels great," he said. "You don't have this opportunity every day."

Sterling who was active-duty for four years, said he joined the Air Force Reserve "for a challenge." He said he did not hesitate when choosing to re-enlist.

"There wasn't even a second thought," he said.

Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Prince, 57, works in applied technologies at Wayne Community College. In his Air Force role, he is a maintenance superintendent on the flightline. He said he joined the Air Force Reserve to gain experience working on heavy aircraft.

"I just love being a part of it, with the guys," he said.

A 23-year veteran, Prince re-enlisted for 26 months, until he reaches 60, the mandatory retirement age for traditional reservists.

"This is actually my last enlistment, that's why I decided to let him do it," he said of Bradley.

Tech Sgt. Kenneth Sheldon, 44, of Swansboro, re-enlisted for the fifth time. He is a crew chief at Seymour Johnson.

Sheldon said he takes pride in his work as a reservist.

"It's like a crew chief on the NASCAR circuit," he said. "He likes to make that car go. He likes to make it win. We like to do the same thing with the airplanes. Especially when they need it.They really depend on us and really need the aircraft, not just for training but for real-world missions. You go out there, and you get it ready to go, and it goes, you get the mission accomplished. It's a lot of pride and it's a good feeling."

Also re-enlisting were Senior Master Sgt. John Meadows, Staff Sgt. Linda Dew, Teh. Sgt. Randall Whitfield, Staff Sgt. Fred Moore, Jr., Tech. Sgt. Timothy Ott, and Tech. Sgt. Terry Rutan.