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Decisions: Stay or Leave?

Col. Thomas Coppinger, front, administers the Oath of Enlistment for Master Sgt. Steven Wescott, center, and Master Sgt. Michael Ping to recite in the 108th Wing's conference room at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Sept. 19, 2015. Airmen from the wing can reenlist for an additional 1-6 years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Col. Thomas Coppinger, front, administers the Oath of Enlistment for Master Sgt. Steven Wescott, center, and Master Sgt. Michael Ping to recite in the 108th Wing's conference room at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Sept. 19, 2015. Airmen from the wing can reenlist for an additional 1-6 years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Senior Airman Mecca Jennings, left, and Senior Airman Jose Petthyng sort through paperwork before the reenlistment ceremony starts in the 108th Wing conference room at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.j., Sept. 19, 2015. Jennings and Petthyng are from the 108th Force Support Squadron. They are responsible for putting together the roster of Airmen who's contracts will end within 90 days. They form and file the paperwork that allow 108th Wing Airmen to reenlist.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Senior Airman Mecca Jennings, left, and Senior Airman Jose Petthyng sort through paperwork before the reenlistment ceremony starts in the 108th Wing conference room at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.j., Sept. 19, 2015. Jennings and Petthyng are from the 108th Force Support Squadron. They are responsible for putting together the roster of Airmen who's contracts will end within 90 days. They form and file the paperwork that allow 108th Wing Airmen to reenlist. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Julia Pyun/Released)

Joint Base McGure-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. -- With the oath of enlistment, Airmen swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Airmen agree to put their lives on the line and commit to more years of service. Like everything else in the military, there is a behind-the-scenes that is accomplished by more hardworking Airmen.

Senior Airman Jenna Ruggiero, who works in career development with the 108th Force Support Squadron, is one of those Airmen who make reenlisting possible.
"I love my job," said Ruggiero. "I love communicating to so many different members. The commanders, supervisors and chiefs really make my job easier. We work really well as a team. I get to learn a lot about the members I'm serving with."

Airmen who are approaching the end of their enlistment must make the decision to stay or leave the military. The FSS staff makes it possible for Airmen to go through their military careers smoothly.

To make the process easier, "Make sure you have that conversation with your commander before reenlisting," said Ruggiero. "Be proactive and don't wait until last minute. This makes for a less stressful reenlistment. I send a roster to each commander of members upcoming Expiration Term of Service within 90 days. The commander sends me a recommendation and contracts are created."

"I collect the information of Airmen whose contracts are ending within 90 days, and compile the ETS roster," said Senior Airman Jose R. Petthyng, another career development Airman with the 108th FSS. "Next, we make a point statement that has the Airman's years of active and inactive service that goes into BD form 4, also known as the reenlistment contract."

Airmen can reenlist anywhere from one to six years. Airmen must also pass their Air Force Fitness Assessment to reenlist. Reenlistments can be confused with extensions. Extensions are for career contracts that need to be followed through. An extension can be up to 48 months.

"Let's say someone cross trained to a new career field," said Petthyng. "They only have two years left of their contract, and their new job requires them to fulfill three years in that position. This is when an extension is needed compared to a reenlistment."

After the initial paperwork, Airmen must participate in the reenlistment ceremony where an officer will administer the oath of enlistment for the Airmen to recite.
"I enjoy watching the ceremony," said Petthyng. "I get to work on the Airmen's contracts and see them as they commit themselves to more years of service."

Master Sgt. Michael Ping, who does quality assurance with the 108th Maintenance Group, has served 27 years and decided to reenlist for three additional years. "I was notified that my contract was ending and spoke with my commander about reenlisting," said Ping. "I enjoy what I do. The people, travel opportunities, and education benefits are great, and I would recommend others to reenlist as well."