COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
In the midst of all the events that happened at the 2018 Wings Over Columbus Air and Space Show, one event will be very memorable for eight of the attendees and their families.
Eight recruits took the oath of enlistment April 21, in front of two F-22 Raptors on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Maj. Paul Lopez, Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team pilot, was the commanding officer that enlisted them into the Air Force.
“I think once the recruits make it through basic training and once they see what the Air Force is like, they will understand how special this enlistment was,” said Tech. Sgt. William Powell, 331st Recruiting Squadron recruiter.
The recruits are in the Delayed Entry Program, which means they have gone through a Medical Expenditure Panel Survey station and qualify to join the Air Force but are waiting to be assigned an Air Force Specialty Code.
“Getting to develop these future leaders is an awesome part of my job,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Ballard, 331st RCS recruiter. “There are times where we pull long hours, just like everyone else in the Air Force, but in the end it’s worth it, especially when you get to see the recruits witness a little bit of the Air Force life.”
The two noncommissioned officers at the Columbus recruiting station have frequent visits to local high schools to talk with students and parents within a 4,000 square-mile area. Last year, they recruited 32 future Airmen.
Local recruiting stations are the first step to becoming an enlisted Airman. Columbus-based recruiters, Powell and Ballard, are a vital part of the Air Force recruiting mission to inspire, engage and recruit future Airmen to deliver air power for America.