COMACC swears in new Airmen at Daytona 500

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samuel King Jr.
  • 53rd Wing Public Affairs
Airmen, start your engines! 

More than 35 delayed entry recruits were sworn into the Air Force Sunday by Gen. Ronald Keys, Air Combat Command commander, before the "Great American Race," the Daytona 500. 

The event took place outside the track at the Air Force recruiting booth, which featured large scale models of an F-22A and F-16. The ceremony gives the public a chance to witness Air Force customs and courtesies up close, according to Master Sgt. Robert Dixon, 336th Recruiting Squadron's marketing NCO. 

"It's important for them to see because it shows young men and women are willing to put their life on the line to defend our country," said Sergeant Dixon. 

General Keys said he was thrilled about enlisting the new recruits. 

"They are the future of the Air Force. It's always exciting to be able to be in a ceremony where we're bringing in that many people into the new Air Force," said the general. "We have some difficult challenges ahead and when you see that level of enthusiasm you know the Air Force will be in good hands." 

The new recruits, whose ages ranged from 17 to 24, were enthusiastic about coming into the Air Force. 

"I'm really excited," said Sabrina Robinson, a 17 year-old from Ocala, Fla. "I hope to get to travel and see other places." 

Matt Dalton, a 20-year-old from Starke, Fla., who plans to be a linguist, said he wasn't nervous about joining and is ready to serve. 

"I've always wanted to serve my country, said the new Airmen. "And the Air Force was the only way to go." 

After the ceremony, General Keys took time to shake the new Airmen's hands and meet with the parents who were in attendance. 

Later in the day, the new Airmen took a tour of the Nextel Cup garage and pit area before signing their name on a different type of dotted line - the historic checkered finish line.
Before the race got underway, General Keys met with Ken Schrader, the driver of the Air Force car and watched the F-15 fly-by performed by the 33rd Fighter Wing from Eglin AFB, Fla. 

As the race got underway, General Keys was invited to sit on the Air Force car's pit box and watch Schrader and the 42 other NASCAR drivers take the green flag.
General Keys said he feels NASCAR is the "perfect venue to introduce people to the Air Force." 

"NASCAR is a natural for us," he said. "The teams need discipline, teamwork and attention to detail to be successful in NASCAR. Those are the same things that make us successful in our Air Force." 

Before the general left, he had some advice for the newly enlisted Airmen as they begin their Air Force career. 

"In your profession, pay attention to what you're responsible for, make sure you're prepared and always be a man or woman of your word and you'll do great," said General Keys. "On a personal level, meet people who will become life-long friends, friends you can trust and work with. You'll be part of a team that's bigger than you are that's dedicated to something as important as the defense of our country."