Navy veteran reenlists great niece via virtual ceremony
By Airman 1st Class Whitney Erhart, 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 16, 2021
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
In a room full of her peers, Air Force Staff Sgt. Dawn Weber held back tears while talking to her great uncle via video chat, during her reenlistment ceremony, March 22, here.
Weber, a 509th Public Affairs public affairs specialist, continues her family tradition of serving in the military, kicking off her first reenlistment in a memorable way.
“This reenlistment is pretty special for me because my great uncle is swearing me in,” she said. “When the opportunity came up to reenlist, I would have loved to have been able to do it in person, but with COVID-19 he was unable to do it in person because of health reasons. I made some phone calls to make sure it was possible to do it virtually, asked my uncle if he would still do it, and he said ‘I would be honored to reenlist you, Dawn.’”
Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Raymond Paul Weber Jr., Weber’s great uncle, eagerly greeted her when the video chat came up, asking her “Are you ready?” and then addressed the room all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia.
Weber and Raymond have formed a bond and mentorship over the years through shared experiences.
“Our military journeys have been similar,” Weber said. “I served the first six years of my enlistment overseas. My great uncle also served a lot of his Navy career overseas, serving in Vietnam and Scotland. He understands what it’s like to be away from family.”
Raymond retired after 25 years of service in the Navy, but he held onto his uniform and wore it with pride during the ceremony.
“I’m what the Navy calls a mustang officer,” Raymond said. “I went all the way up from E-1 to E-9. Then I went over to the officer side and went from O-1 to O-4. I saw a lot of reach and ranks in the Navy.”
Weber is also following in the military footprints of her father and grandfather who both served in the Army. They all helped direct Weber toward a career in uniform.
With the reenlistment in the books, Raymond said he will continue to support his great niece as she embarks on the next chapter of Air Force service to her country and family.
“This enlistment takes her over the hump,” he said. “She’ll have 12 years, and when she finishes this one, eight more, and she’ll have a memorable career.”