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An Air Force officer administers the Oath to a group of 150 enlistees (not pictured)
USMC reelistment cermony.ogg
A Marine re-enlists in the Marine Corps taking the Oath of Enlistment

The oath of enlistment into the United States Armed Forces is administered by any current or retired commissioned officer to any person enlisting or reenlisting for a term of service into any branch of the armed forces. The officer asks the person, or persons, to raise their right hand and repeat the oath. The oath is traditionally performed in front of the United States flag. Other flags—such as the state flag, military branch flag, or unit guidon—may also be present.

The oath is as follows:

I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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 the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.[1]

This is not an oath to defend any specific territory or persons or property. This is an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

There is no duration defined in the Oath. The term of service is written on the DD Form 4 series, otherwise known as the "contract". The Oath is not a lifetime affirmation. The total military service obligation dictated by DD Form 4 for an initial enlistment is eight years, which can be a combination of active duty and time spent in a reserve capacity (enlisted reservists are subject to activation until the end of the eight year initial military obligation). Army Soldiers in the grade of E-6 and above with more than ten years active federal military service are required to reenlist for an Indefinite period, which is calculated up to the individuals Retention Control Point (RCP) or high year tenure.

The Oath of Enlistment is also referred to as the Oath Of Reenlistment, in the Army.

The last sentence is not required to be said if the speaker has a personal or moral objection, as is true of all oaths administered by the United States government. Article Six of the United States Constitution requires that there be no religious test for public office. In addition, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are examples of government policies and agencies preventing discrimination on the basis of religion. Both theists and nontheists have dropped the last sentence on religious grounds due to their beliefs against religious oaths. Army Regulation 610-210 governs the Army enlistment program and provides a specific exemption, allowing oaths without the last sentence.[2]

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