MEPS (Day 3: Swearing in)

After compiling a list of my foreign contacts, I went into my recruiter’s office to have him put them into the system. (Only they have access to edit my file.) I also had some questions about going back to MEPS in a few days to be sworn in.

Questions like: Why??? And, do I have to??

Have you ever wondered what Hell is like? I think maybe it’s different for everyone. I’m here to tell you that for me, it is exactly like the MEPS waiting room. No phones, no books, just an empty room with chairs and hours of waiting for no reason. People told me I would have to be tough to join the Army, but I was picturing being yelled at to do pushups constantly and camping in adverse weather conditions. Nobody prepared me for the torture of a MEPS waiting room. Things like that can break you.

So, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to spending a couple more days at MEPS, even though it’s basically the most important event of my life up to this point. While I was in the recruiter’s office whining about it, suddenly my recruiter got a call from somebody. “Uh huh… Okay… I see…” he said. Then covering the phone, he asked me, “Want to get sworn in right now?” Apparently there is a recruiting office in the next city that occasionally works as a MEPS, and a spot just opened up for me, so I wouldn’t have to make the trek to MEPS on Wednesday! Best news of my life.

Since I am a woman and my recruiter is a man, there are rules about being alone. So he got his supervisor to come along and we took a mini road trip (very mini 😄) over to the other recruiter’s station in the next city. There, a man took me over some paperwork about my bonuses and commitments that I signed. I was lucky enough to get the exact same MOS & bonuses that I had originally wanted, even though my reservation on it had expired after I came back from MEPS the first time. Then I was sworn in.

I didn’t know what to expect at the Swearing-in ceremony; if there would be a Bible to put my hand on and make some sort of pledge, or a bunch of guys in dark hoods carrying candles and doing animal sacrifices, or what. Turns out, you just stand in front of a flag and raise your arm to the square and repeat an oath after a man.

I wish I had known the oath beforehand, because the man I was repeating was a hardcore mumbler, and I felt like I was doing a Bad Lip Reading of the actual swearing-in oath. Plus, it would just be good to know what I was promising. So I looked it up after, and here is the military oath of enlistment:

"I, (STATE YOUR NAME), do solemnly swear 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 felt so happy afterwards. Everybody was shaking my hand and congratulating me, even people I didn’t know. Even my recruiter's wife congratulated me over the phone. My recruiters took me out to eat at a great burger place. Then we made the trip back. The whole thing didn’t take more than a few hours, start to finish. 

And thus begins my life as a U.S. soldier!

I still need to meet with my recruiters about some things before I ship out to Basic Training on April 1. (Which could end up being the worst April Fool’s prank ever.) As a reservist, I became a soldier the moment I swore in. I could technically be expected to start my MOS any day, but since I am shipping out to BT in less than a month, I probably will just meet my unit briefly before I go.


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