During my last deployment to Iraq, I was in desperate need of initial term Soldiers to reenlist in order to complete my unit's retention mission. One day, I was approached by an initial term Soldier with a request for an assignment.
The objective of an Army career counselor is to "reenlist quality Soldiers on a long term basis, in order to maintain Army end strength and support special military programs." Career counselors are taught in school to use different skills and tactics to secure reenlistments. The most important factor is finding out the needs and desires of the Soldier. Once the Soldiers' goals are planned, the Army career counselor can assist Soldiers with their decision-making process of what course of action to take while they are in the developmental phase of their career.
The Soldier was recently put on assignment to Fort Detrick, Md. He told me about the consequences he felt he would suffer from being assigned to a non-tactical unit and said he wanted to remain competitive in his current Military Occupational Specialty as a combat medic. Immediately, I began to layout the pros and cons to this request. We went over the time he served, his deployments, education, and discussed his short term and long term goals. Once I finished the counseling session, the Soldier was more receptive to the idea of moving to Fort Detrick.
By a sheer twist of fate, I was also put on assignment to Fort Detrick as the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command senior career counselor and was greeted by the same Soldier during my in-processing.
Since his assignment to the U.S. Army Research of Institute of Infectious Disease in July of 2007, Sgt. Christopher Giddinge has re-enlisted three times. Ofcourse, I attribute the re-enlistments to the actual nature of my job "Career Counseling."
That is what career counseling's mission is all about-- re-enlistments. The Army has retained a combat-tested Warrior that we hope will stay with us for a long term basis which is the ultimate mission.