FORT SILL, Oklahoma –
Nina Berry, age 17, will graduate from Lawton (Oklahoma) High School May 21. She enlisted in the Army, and is the first member of her family member to be in the military. “Growing up in a military town, I’ve wanted to join the Army since I was little; I think it’s cool.” She plans to become a combat engineer.
Teagon Moler, 18, is set to graduate with six other seniors at Hammon (Oklahoma) High School later this month. In June, he’ll be going to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic combat training and then advanced individual training to become a cavalry scout.
“I want to serve my country, and I think the Army is the best way to do it,” he said.
Berry and Moler were two of 19 future Soldiers who enlisted May 7, at the Air Defense Artillery Training Support Facility at Fort Sill. Dozens of parents, family members, friends, and recruiters attended the morning ceremony.
The Oklahoma City West Recruiting Company sponsored the swearing in ceremony.
Holding mass enlistments at special locations is a regular occurrence for the company to enhance the experience for families and the future Soldiers, said Capt. Evan Finnane, OKC West Recruiting Company commander. The ADA Training Support Facility was selected because it is grand, new, and made a nice backdrop for the enlistment.
The future Soldiers came from throughout the recruiting company’s region, which ranged north to Enid, Oklahoma, and east to Stillwater, Oklahoma, and south to Wichita Falls, Texas, said Finnane. Two of the future Soldiers will attend basic combat training, and advanced individual training at Fort Sill. One of them is going into the field artillery branch, and the other air defense artillery.
Col. Curran Chidester, Army Capability Manager – Army Air and Missile Defense Command director, was the guest speaker, and he administered the oath of enlistment.
“The oath specifically says: ‘To support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’” said Chidester. “No where in the oath does it say about supporting a person, or a political party, or an ideology, or anything else."
The volunteer military is less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, the colonel said. “For this, you should be extremely proud. I’m extremely proud of you, I’m sure your family and friends are proud of you. Your country is proud of you. And, your fellow Soldiers are extremely proud of you. Thank you.”
Chidester also thanked the future Soldiers’ families and friends for their support of the Army.
The Army uniform has two name tapes. ‘U.S. Army’ worn over the heart, is a constant reminder of love for the country; and love of your fellow Soldiers and veterans, Chidester said.
The name tape on your right breast pocket is your family name. “It’s your family’s legacy, this is a reminder that you are not alone … and that you not only honor yourself, but your family,” he said.
Concluding, Chidester congratulated the future Soldiers.
“Have fun, you’re about to go on an amazing journey.”
The mass enlistment was a prelude to the Army’s National Hiring Days, Finnane said. The virtual campaign runs May 10 through June 14, with a goal of recruiting 1,700 new Soldiers. This is the second year the Army has conducted the hiring campaign.