CNY military recruits sworn into U.S. Air Force

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WWTI) – A promise to serve and defend the nation at all costs.

This is what 25 young Central New Yorkers vowed when they spoke the military oath on August 31 at the New York State Fair.

While the fair celebrated Armed Forces Day, these recruits enlisted in the military during a delayed enlistment program ceremony. 

The ceremony was led by the New York Air National Guard 174th Attack Wing Commander Colonel Nicholas Lotito. 

“When you take the oath, the moment you take the oath, you become part of the one percent,” Lotito said in an interview. “The one percent of the military in uniform that’s defending the other 99%.”

Most of the recruits on August 31 enlisted in the active-duty Air Force. Which, according to Lieutenant Colonel Christina Gustafson, who commands the 313th Recruiting Squadron, is a win.

“The last few years have been rough for all services in the Department of Defense,” Gustafson explained. “But things are looking up. Our main mission here is just to inspire and engage with today’s youth and to show them that military service is an option for them.”

“When you think about the air and space above it, that’s really what we’re selling,” she added. “It’s the ability to fly, fight and win.”

All part of why the young airmen decided to join. Sam Cornwell, a recruit in his early 20’s, is hoping to join special forces in the Air Force.

“I dropped out of college to do this,” Cornwell said. “To be surrounded by people to my left, to my right, in front of me, behind me, who are going through the exact same process. Sort of takes a burden off my shoulder and I realize that I’m not in this alone. That I have these people to count on as I go on this journey.”

Henry Kaiser is another new airman, originally from Manlius. He said he’s been in the process of enlisting for a couple of years. 

“I discovered it’s a really rich community full of great people,” Kaiser expressed. “It’s exciting. I can’t wait.”

In the coming weeks, these new airmen will head to basic training, which will prepare them for the first of many military jobs they will hold. 

But they all say they are ready for the challenges ahead.

“I believe this is the best country in the world, and it deserves the best protection it can get,” Cornwell stated. 

The call to serve, answered.

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