File photo: Soldier-recruits for the active-duty Army, National Guard and Army Reserve, including Logan Bilyeu (R) take part in a swearing-in ceremony at the Jefferson Memorial October 4, 2007 in Washington, DC.
More than a hundred young volunteers swore in yesterday for service in all branches of active military duty. Many of them were excited - some were nervous - as they took a collective oath in Burbank.
At the ceremony, 117 men and women – most of them about 18 years old – shook hands and hugged after their swearing in. Now they look ahead to basic training for the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard.
Dillon Garcia is one of dozens at the ceremony who wore a bright gold T-shirt with the word “Navy” printed on it. The 18-year-old from Pasadena heads to Chicago in a few months for boot camp. After that, he plans to pursue work in the naval search and rescue division.
He smiled as he tried to describe his career path. “A lot of people compare my job to ‘The Guardian’ with Ashton Kutcher, where he’s dropping from helicopters into the ocean saving people in storms, so that’s what I’m gonna be doing.”
The California Disabled Veterans Business Alliance hosted the annual ceremony in Burbank. Organizers say the joint services swearing-in event is the largest in the country.
The breakfast attracted military personnel, veterans and celebrities like actor Dennis Haysbert of TV’s military drama “The Unit.” He praised the disabled vets who showed up.
“You see a whole new crop of soldiers, getting ready to go off to training. And you see these disabled veterans coming back and I just have to say the disabled veterans are not being treated as well as when the new troops are being sent out. And I’d just like to see that change.”
Event organizers say the ceremony offers veterans – including some who served in recent and continuing wars – an opportunity to interact with and encourage young volunteers before they begin active duty.