WASHINGTON — Petty Officer 3rd Class Leona DeMoss takes comfort knowing that when someone’s got her back, it’s because he or she wants to be there.

“I don’t want to know that my life depends on someone who doesn’t want to be here,” said the 21-year-old naval intelligence specialist who, on Tuesday, along with the rest of the nation’s 1.4 million active-duty and 880,000 guardsmen and reservists, celebrated the 30th anniversary of an all-volunteer military force.

And as an added bonus, DeMoss and 29 others participated in a 25-minute re-enlistment ceremony at the White House, reaffirming their pledges to protect the nation against enemies foreign and domestic.

From a lectern in the East Room of the White House, President Bush thanked the re-enlisting servicemembers who, he said, “chose years ago to serve and defend our country, and today, reaffirm that commitment and take the oath again.”

Bush thanked the nation’s military forces for standing “between the American people and the dangers of the world, and we are glad they’re staying on duty.”

On July 1, 1973, the nation’s leaders ditched the increasingly unpopular draft and began an all-volunteer armed force.

This weekend, the 30 re-enlistees traveled from points across the United States to be in the nation’s capital on Tuesday and raise their right hands during the White House ceremony, also attended by military and civilian leaders from each of the services. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, administered the oath.

Three years and four months hasn’t been enough service for Sgt. Jason Blair, 21, with Headquarters Company of the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

He wants four more years.

“Someone has to fight for our country,” Blair said. “We need someone to protect our homes and our families.”

That, and he wants to travel to Europe. “I’m also re-enlisting so I can go to Germany,” he admitted.

Also Tuesday, towns across the country hosted 65 special enlistment ceremonies for 650 volunteers who became the military’s newest recruits, officials said.

It’s the love of the job that enticed Army Spc. Timothy Francis, with the 86th Combat Support Hospital with the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky. Because it sure isn’t the money — there’s not much of a re-enlistment bonus for him, he said.

“Medics are all over the place, so there is no real big bonus for us at all,” Francis said. “I just like what I do.”

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