Armed Forces Recruits Take Oath of Enlistment at Florida Ceremony
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
MIAMI, May 4, 2007 Scores of young people raised their right hands and joined America’s armed forces during a joint enlistment ceremony here yesterday.
Left to right: Floridian recruits Angeline Medina, 17, from Miami Gardens; Jorge Lainez, 18, from Miami; and Frank Giro, 18, from Hialeah, are sworn in as new Marine enlistees during a joint oath of enlistment ceremony at Miami’s Opa Locka Airport on May 3. The ceremony inducted 120 young people into the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy or Coast Guard. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The mass enlistment, held inside a hangar at Miami’s Opa Locka Airport, inducted 120 new members into the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy or Coast Guard.
Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs and a retired Navy rear admiral with 38 years of military service, attended the ceremony and praised the young people for their patriotism.
“I wish I could do it all over again,” Hall said to the soon-to-be servicemembers. “But, it’s your time to serve. And, you’ll soon raise your hand and enter into the ranks of all of those that have served before you and will serve after you.”
“I tip my hat to them for the service that they’re going to provide to their country,” Navy Vice Adm. Marty Chanik, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, based at Norfolk, Va., told the inductees. “I really and deeply appreciate that, and I know that you’ll find your service in the military to be a rewarding time. Congratulations to each and every one of you.”
Air National Guard Lt. Gen. Craig R. McKinley, director of the Air National Guard, then swore in the group.
“It is such an honor to be wearing that uniform and to be a Marine,” Miami Gardens resident Angeline Medina, 17, said after she took her oath of enlistment.
The swearing-in ceremony was part of Fleet Week USA and 2007 McDonald’s Air and Sea Show media day activities held in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami region as part of National Military Appreciation Month in May.
The Navy sent some ships and its Leap Frogs Parachute Team to participate in Fleet Week and Air and Sea Show activities in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, noted Chanik, who’s also the director of the “Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence,” in Norfolk.
“We bring some equipment for folks to see, but that’s not really what’s important,” Chanik said.
The key focus of such events, the admiral pointed out, is for civilians to meet and talk with servicemembers “who make a big difference for our country.”
One of those servicemembers was Army Staff Sgt. Daniel P. Barnes, a 29-year-old Iraq veteran who hails from Saint Robert, Mo. Barnes lost both of his legs because of a rocket-propelled-grenade attack in Baghdad on September 4, 2006. He praised the “Wounded Warrior Project,” a non-profit servicemember support group that helped him when he was recovering from his wounds at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
“They came to my room and brought me a backpack filled with clothes and toiletries,” Barnes, who is still on active duty, recalled. “I think it is truly amazing; fellow soldiers helping out fellow soldiers.”
The Wounded Warrior Project is among the more than 250 businesses and organizations nationwide participating in the Defense Department’s America Supports You program, which recognizes citizens’ support for military men and women and communicates that support to members of the U.S. armed forces here and abroad.
The media day was a preview of military-themed festivities along Fort Lauderdale’s beachfront today. Other venues at the airport included a drill-and-ceremony demonstration by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, flyovers by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and static military displays, including Navy F-16 and Air Force F-15 aircraft.
A special surprise guest, the new F-22 Raptor fighter jet, landed on the tarmac. Excited spectators cheered their approval as the sleek aircraft slowly taxied up with its turbines whining.