WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Gregory Leingang, 88th Air Base Wing vice director, personally administered the oath of office to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s newest public servants April 26 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, highlighting the gravity and heritage of civilians in this formal commitment to protect the Constitution.
“Article 6 of the Constitution states that an oath is required,” Leingang said. “That’s the foremost reason we take it. The founders recognized that political parties would come and go, but when you went into the service of the government, you weren’t there to serve a political party. You’re actually there to serve and defend the Constitution and the people.”
While the Constitution obligates all civilian hires to raise their right hand, swearing the oath alone between paperwork and fingerprints can downplay the significance of the words, said Leingang, who received his oath in a cubicle from another trainee several years ago when he was just an intern at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
“I just wanted to invest a little bit of my time emphasizing the importance of the moment,” he said. “I think it’s so important for civilians to begin their federal employment understanding that it’s not just a normal career; it’s not just a paycheck. It’s something very special. They really are becoming servants of the country and Constitution, and the oath highlights that.”
Even though all civilians repeating the words after Leingang wore business causal instead of military uniforms, new hires brought diverse experiences with the Air Force, oath and Wright-Patterson to the ceremony.
“My dad was in the Air Force, so I’ve seen them take the oath, and I’m excited and a little nervous to do it, too,” said Kathryn Rogers, a recent Miami University graduate and new finance cost estimator in a developmental position at WPAFB. “I feel like there’s a sense of commitment attached to it, even as a civilian.”
Others were renewing an oath they took years or decades ago and many times since in camouflage.
“I don’t think taking the oath today will be different than when I took it as active duty because I will still be committed to and love the United States,” said Michael Hargett Jr., a program manager in the Special Operations Forces and Personnel Recovery Division at Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “I’ve been in the military for 14 1/2 years, and I’ll continue to do wonderful things for the military. I’m proud to be doing this as a civilian, just as I was as a military person.”
As the civilians finish onboarding, receive CACs and meet new colleagues across Wright-Patt, Leingang said he hopes they will kick off their duties with the spirit of purpose behind the oath.