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Air Force Welcomes 30 Recruits to its Leadership Team

“You ended up being leaders when you took the oath,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander, 45th Space Wing. “They’ll tell you you’ll be a leader. I say
welcome to the leadership team of the United States Air Force. The future of the Air Force is on your shoulders. Congratulations to every one of you.” His son, Russel, far left, was among those who enlisted. (Photo by Malcolm Denemark, Florida Today)

“You ended up being leaders when you took the oath,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander, 45th Space Wing. “They’ll tell you you’ll be a leader. I say welcome to the leadership team of the United States Air Force. The future of the Air Force is on your shoulders. Congratulations to every one of you.” His son, Russel, far left, was among those who enlisted. (Photo by Malcolm Denemark, Florida Today)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- Thirty Air Force recruits came together Aug. 10 at a location steeped in space and military tradition to share a milestone.

Inside Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 14 -- the site where John Glenn first rocketed into orbit 50 years ago -- the recruits took the oath of enlistment in the Blockhouse.

The 45th Space Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, administered the oath in the delayed-entry program, where recruits previously committed and are now welcomed into the service. Some recruits leave almost immediately for basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Others leave in a month or two.

But this day's ceremony gave him pause as he tried to recall the words of an oath he's said many times before. His son, Russel, was among those joining the Air Force.

"It kind of choked me up," he said. "I'm a second-generation Air Force member."

Cotton's father was a chief master sergeant, and now his son is following in their footsteps by entering the service.

"We're quite proud of him," Cotton said of his 24-year-old son who completed two years at University of Central Florida.

Cotton addressed the young men and women about what it means to take the oath.

"You ended up being leaders when you took the oath," he said. "They'll tell you you'll be a leader. I say welcome to the leadership team of the United States Air Force. The future of the Air Force is on your shoulders. Congratulations to every one of you."