Taking the Oath
SFC Tomon, the VAARNG recruiter, visited one last time to take me to the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). We went to the Richmond, Va. MEPS, where I had to go through several stations of medical and clerical tasks. I had never seen so many paper forms to fill out. By the end of processing, seven hours had passed and I was just about to sign the paperwork.
I read every last detail of the contract. It was tens of pages long, double sided. I had to dig through each part to make sure I was getting the benefits I was promised. About ¾ of the way through the contract I noticed that the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) was not included where I had expected it would be mentioned. I immediately jumped on the defensive and became uncomfortable about the enlistment process.
I mentioned the mistake to the administrative person and she tried to tell me it was in there. I had to say, "Show me." She ripped the contract out of my hand and sighed like I was a pain in her ass. She ruffled the contract back and forth, looked up at me an in a soft voice said, "You are right. It is not in here. I am so sorry." She took the contract and went into a back office only to appear with a new contract about 45 minutes later.
This time I read everything again and saw all of the benefits outlined. I also read all of the concessions I was about to make. I signed the contract. Then I waited in a line of about 10 people for the official swearing in ceremony. The whole time I was asking myself, "What have I gotten myself into?"
"I, Bert Stover, 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."
Opportunity to quit has presented itself a couple of times in my career, especially since I've graduated from college and the bills are paid. Twice since my initial enlistment I have taken the oath, all because I have come to enjoy what I do in the VAARNG. If I were to do it all over again I would choose the same course of action.
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Posted by: SFC Roberts | September 15, 2005 04:07 PM
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