- Ada, Oklahoma


October 28, 2012

Our lieutenant takes an oath

Ada — “I, Matthew Henry Beasley, having been appointed a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.”

In a million years, his mother and I would never have predicted it. Yet there our son was, on stage last week, repeating the oath of office at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama as a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

The Air Force is sensitive to what such an occasion means to family and friends, and because of that, his mother and girlfriend got to pin bars on his shoulders. I pinned one on his hat.

It turns out we weren’t the only family still amazed at this turn of events, even though we’ve known for a couple of years it was going to happen. As fate would have it, before the ceremony we bumped into his roommate’s parents from Maryland, who expressed the same sentiment.

To say Officer Training School (OTS) is a learning experience understates the case by a country mile. At least for his first couple of weeks there, our OTS candidate was drinking from the fire hose, so to speak. It isn’t that I haven’t yelled at him occasionally through his formative years. I have.

The difference is, I haven’t yelled at him 18 hours a day for weeks on end. Nor have I mandated he work till 11 p.m. and then impolitely rouse him at 5 a.m. for another round of yelling. That would be a tough adjustment for anyone, let alone a recent college graduate who was not used to being fully awake until the crack of noon.

Candidates were allowed to take parents on a tour of sleeping quarters, and we quickly discovered we weren’t the only ones with jaws agape at what we found, i.e., spotless rooms with beds precisely made, clothes hanging on hangers with exact distances separating them, and shoes neatly pointed in one direction only.  

This was almost too much for a mother of another candidate whose wife and several children were also in tow. “I should have sent him here years ago!” his mother exclaimed.

The commissioning ceremonies concluded with a marching exhibition on the parade grounds, after which the base’s major general led them in repeating the oath of office in unison.

If this is bragging, let it be so, but of course we are proud of our son. This was punctuated by what his flight captain said to us upon being introduced. “He’s an exceptional one, your son,” he said.

Sir, we think so, too.


Lone Beasley is publisher of The Ada News.

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