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Air Force conducts mass enlistment with rocket backdrop

45th Space Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr. inducts 40 Air Force recruits into the Delayed Entry Program Feb. 4 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The swearing-in took place in front of a Delta IV booster being readied for launch. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jennifer Macklin)

45th Space Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr. inducts 40 Air Force recruits into the Delayed Entry Program Feb. 4 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The swearing-in took place in front of a Delta IV booster being readied for launch. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jennifer Macklin)

Air Force recruits stand in front of a Delta IV booster being readied for launch Feb. 4 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Moments before the recruits had been inducted into the Delayed Entry Program by 45th Space Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jennifer Macklin)

Air Force recruits stand in front of a Delta IV booster being readied for launch Feb. 4 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Moments before the recruits had been inducted into the Delayed Entry Program by 45th Space Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jennifer Macklin)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- Forty Air Force recruits got their first glimpse at active duty Feb. 4, when they were sworn into the Delayed Entry Program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

45th Space Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr. led the oath in front of a Delta IV rocket being readied for launch from Pad 37.

"Welcome to the Air Force," General Bolton said after the oath was completed. A former enlisted Airmen himself, he told the recruits how he had also been in the DEP more than 20 years ago.

"That oath set me on the path that led me here, launching rockets for a living," he said. "You're going have a tremendous opportunity, but what you make of that opportunity will only be as great as the effort you put into it."

The recruits came from the 333rd Recruiting Squadron. The largest in the nation, the squadron's area of responsibility stretches from Ocala, Fla., to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This is the first time the 333 RCS has held a DEP swear-in near one of the launch pads.

"For many recruits, it's a whole new experience," said Master Sgt. Carmelo Vega of the 333rd Recruiting Squadron. "It's a chance for us as recruiters to really showcase the Air Force before they go to training."

"We would like to do this more often," Sergeant Vega said of the ceremony. "It's a great motivator."

The recruits agreed. "It's a great honor to be enlisted by a brigadier general," said Joshua Whalen, who leaves for basic training in June to become a pararescueman.

Jeremy Williamson, who is entering the Special Operations career field, added that seeing the Delta IV up close "gives me something to look forward to. I'm ready to work hard and do my best for my country."