Videos: Today's Military
  • MEPS: Oath of Enlistment(02:18)

    The final step at MEPS is the Oath of Enlistment. Applicants are presented with a final contract to sign, and a MEPS official explains the commitment the applicant is about to make. Then an official walks the applicant through the Oath ceremony, which may be administered to a single applicant or a group. Friends and family members are invited to watch.

    Applicants who qualify at MEPS are divided into two groups: Shippers, who will leave for Basic Training that day, and Deppers, who have enrolled in the Delayed Entry (or Enlistment) Program (DEP). Deppers will ship to Basic Training at a designated time in the future, and may require a second visit to MEPS to complete processing. In either case, the applicant is thoroughly briefed on next steps. Shippers are also briefed on travel to their Basic Training location, which is paid for by MEPS. This is their first official order as a member of the United States Military.

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Speaker 1: The most rewarding part of my day, hands down, is when I'm given the privilege of swearing in applicants into the Military.

Speaker 2: The young men and women of today come up to the MEPS to pick their job. We run them through a series of many different things. We have to run them through a medical process, make sure they're qualified there. Then we take their fingerprints, send them off to the FBI, make sure they're clear that way. People that we consider "Deppers" are delayed entry. They will come back at a later date and ship out to Basic Training. Now the shippers that were here today, those are the ones that have been through the process already, and today is their day to ship out to Basic Training. So they will actually leave the MEPS, go over to the airport and ship out to their Basic Training reception battalion.

Speaker 3: As a military member, you occupy a unique position in society. You represent the military establishment. This special status brings with it responsibilities to uphold and maintain the dignity and high standards of the United States Armed Forces at all times in all places.

Speaker 4: I wanted to congratulate you first of all, you're heading to where? Fort Benning, is that correct?

Speaker 5: Yes, sir.

Speaker 4: Okay, you'll be going to the airport in about an hour and a half, all right? So you have plenty of time to relax, get your thoughts together. Today you have a job to do; your mission is to get to boot camp, okay?

Speaker 6: As a recruiter, it was the most rewarding when an individual would come back from MEPS qualified and happy. So here I think I find it rewarding every time an individual steps into the swearing room.

Speaker 2: I kind of take them through the baby steps, walk them through the process, exactly what's going to happen during the ceremony, you know, things that are going to be asked of them so that they're prepared. But then when we get ready to take that oath, you now, I want them to stick their chest out a little bit, and raise that hand high and be proud of what they're going to do. That's very important.

Attention on deck!

Speaker 1: Good morning everyone, go ahead and stand at ease.

We are privileged to have them come into the Military. This is a voluntary service. This is not a draft era, and that can be very emotional and rewarding.

Speaker 6: You don't raise your right hand and say, you know, "I get to go to college, I get to have medical care." It's "I support and defend the Constitution of the United States," and it hits some kids really hard that that's really why they're joining, and I try to remind them of that, and then when they come out of there they have a new sense of pride and patriotism that they probably never felt before in their life.