To some, it might seem odd for the Navy to team up with the Air Force, but when it came to welcoming some new recruits into military service, it was a perfect partnership.
During a simple but inspiring ceremony, 15 young San Diegans became members of the Air Force when they took their oath of enlistment on aircraft elevator 3 off Midway’s hanger deck.
“It was a great morning for the Air Force and our country,” said Lt. Col. Matt Tipton, commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 362nd Recruiting Squadron. “Joining the military is a great opportunity for young Americans to take hold of their life and go forward, and do something great for their country and for themselves.”
With San Diego home to the largest concentration on Navy and Marine Corps forces in the United States, the Air Force might seem like a fish out of water in Americas’ Finest City.
“San Diego is a great town for the Air Force and we actually get a lot of applicants here,” said Matt. “I think part of it is that there’s a great military establishment in San Diego. It’s really a true partnership amongst the services.”
Overseeing the enlistment ceremony was Brig. Gen. Houston Cantwell, the commander of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force.
“The most important part is the teamwork the airman bring to our mission,” Houston told the new recruits. “The United States military never fights alone, we’re always fighting in a joint environment.”
One of the recruits actually credited the Midway as one of the reasons he joined the Air Force.
“I like aviation and because of this museum, I really got into planes,” said Diego Mendez. “I just wanted to give back to my country, to say thanks for everything that it’s given to me and my family. The opportunity to serve is why I’ve joined.”
For these young recruits, their enlistment day is one they will always remember.
“This is their first step and I don’t’ think you ever forget that,” said Matt. “This is the moment they raise their right hand and swear to support and defend the constitution. They pledge to be something a lot bigger than themselves, but still be part of a team.”
Now the hard work begins. It’s off to basic military training in Texas, followed by specific technical training before ultimately joining their active-duty units either in the United States or overseas.
“There are so many opportunities in the Air Force for these young aspiring men and women, I want them to go out there and look for those opportunities,” said Houston. “If they do so, they will have successful careers.”