When Staff Sgt. Dylan Kunze decided he would indefinitely reenlist into the Army, he took to social media in January to see if he could make this reenlistment a special moment. And what better way to do that than to get two of the Army’s most senior leaders, on the enlisted and officer side, to participate in the ceremony?
Kunze, who has been in the Army for 10 years and now serves with the 30th Air Defense Artillery Brigade out at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, wondered “what are the odds” that he could get Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George as his reenlisting officer and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston to hold the flag at the ceremony. He worried, though, that it was too late to get him on the books for the ceremony.
“I wanted to do something big, because this was the last reenlistment,” Kunze told Military Times. ”I’ve already done the cool location, or the cool thing for it. So I was just thinking to myself ‘How could I really make this as big as it can be?”
Lo and behold, Kunze said some “wonderful people” came together to make sure he could get his wish for his reenlistment. George and Grinston took part in the ceremony in February.
“I’m happy and honored to have been able to participate in Staff Sgt. Kunze’s reenlistment,” George said in a statement to Military Times, adding that he’s thankful that Kunze and his family have “chosen to continue serving.”
Such high-ranking officials taking part in his ceremony exemplified those aspects of military service — comradery and leadership — that made Kunze want to make it a career.
When he and his wife experienced the loss of a child in 2020, Kunze said his commanding officer and enlisted leaders helped himself and his family through those difficult times.
“I’ve met a whole slew of great leaders in the Army and they’ve always just been there for me,” Kunze said.
Kunze, who enlisted as an infantryman before moving over to the Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer field in 2017, called the ceremony “an honor” and said that he had a number of colleagues wondering why they didn’t think of this particular reenlistment request for themselves. He said people were “flabbergasted” online that the ceremony included Grinston holding the flag during the reenlistment.
“Our Soldiers and Families are the most important part of our Army,” Grinston said in a statement to Military Times. “When leaders engage and support them, it makes an impact. I was honored to be asked to be there and proud to hold the flag for such a great NCO.”
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.