Enlistees take oath on deck of USS Missouri, commemorate anniversary of all-volunteer force
| 12th Marine Corps District | September 24, 2003
RECRUITING STATION ORANGE, Calif. --
Under a canopy of clear skies and brilliant sunlight, the Marines of Recruiting Substation Hawaii, Recruiting Station Orange, joined delegates from all branches of the United States military, in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force.
The ceremony aboard the USS Missouri, docked at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, provided a unique opportunity for 10 new enlistees to be sworn into service and begin making histories of their own. As a fitting prelude to the country's Independence Day celebrations, the ceremony was held on July 1, 2003, along with 64 other Military Entrance Processing Stations around the country, as well as the White House.
The day marked the end of the draft for American men and the beginning of a new era in military service -- and the public's perception of those who fought for their freedoms. The irony of celebrating such an event on an historic relic such as the USS Missouri is more profound than most people realize.
During President George W. Bush's address in the ceremony at the White House, he said, "Our country's all-volunteer force attracts idealistic and committed young Americans. They stay in service longer because they have chosen the military life. The result is a military with the highest level of training and experience, motivation and professionalism."
President Bush also reflected on the patriotism and dedication of today's service members who have volunteered to serve. " ... Our Armed Forces have been tested again and again. In every case, in every mission, America's servicemen and women have brought credit to the uniform, to our flag, and to our country. We have needed you, and you have never let us down."
Rear Admiral Barry McCullough, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Service Group Middle Pacific, speaking of the military's achievements over the last 30 years remarked that "Some say these accomplishments are amazing when one considers that the men and women that accomplished the monumental tasks did so voluntarily. These young man and women you see before you have chosen to join the military and represent the next generation of heroes. They are a living testament to the effectiveness of the All-Volunteer Force."
McCullough shared a prediction with the new enlistees. "As I thought about this ceremony, I thought of the challenges you will face in your careers as compared to those that we've faced throughout mine. The world is a much different place than when I joined the Navy, and I promise you this, it'll be much different when you finish your career.
"The only way we, as the new joint force can keep up, is with your ingenuity," continued McCullough.
McCullough borrowed a few quotes from the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to further articulate his faith and pride in the new enlistees. "Progress in life has come generally from those who swim upstream. Take pride in your service, and the great tradition that is now your responsibility to carry on"