Taking the oath



Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Re-enlisting in the Air Force is an honorable and celebrated occasion for many Airmen. It signifies their continued commitment to serve and protect the nation from all enemies who threaten our democracy. Federal law actually requires all service members who enlist or re-enlist to take the Oath of Enlistment, which states:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (So help me God.)

I spoke these words for the first time in 1997. I was going through the Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS, in Salt Lake City, Utah, just before I made my journey to basic military training. Over the course of my 16-year career in the Air Force, I’ve re-enlisted four times, and each time I took the oath and reflected on its meaning and on my commitment to serve.

These photos of deployed pararescueman Senior Airman Kristopher Tomes re-enlisting aboard a HC-130 really impacted me because he took that same oath. It is what sets us apart as military members. Taking the oath instills a sense of pride and camaraderie for everyone who wears the uniform. We understand what it’s like to serve something greater than ourselves, and it’s our privilege to be a part of the world’s greatest Air Force.

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PHOTOS: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kristopher Tomes, a pararescueman with the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, re-enlists aboard a HC-130 minutes before jumping near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Nov. 19, 2013. Tomes is deployed from the 308th Rescue Squadron and has performed more than 150 jumps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Staci Miller/Released)

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Taking the oath