New York MEPS Swears In Their First Space Force Recruit

Story by Connie Dillon 
USAG Fort Hamilton

Fort Hamilton, N.Y. – Fort Hamilton’s mission partner, the New York Military Entrance Processing Station, swore in their first Space Force recruit, here, Mar. 3, 2021.

“The citizens of New York City are capable of anything! This is an incredible moment for Fort Hamilton and for our mission partner, the NYMEPS, as we continue to seek those willing to defend our nation across all domains,” said Col. Craig Martin, Fort Hamilton Garrison commander.

The U.S. Space Force, started welcoming their first enlistment in Oct. 2020, just over a year since the nation’s newest military branch was created Dec. 20, 2019. By their first anniversary, over 2,400 Airmen have officially transferred to the Space Force, and there are expectations to fill more than 300 enlisted positions by the end of fiscal year 2021.

Air Force recruiters were relied heavily upon to find new applicants, and these applicants enter the military via one of the many entrance processing stations located around the U.S. NYMEPS is considered one of the two largest MEPS in the U.S.

“It was an honor to support the accession of some of the first United States Space Force Guardians,” said Lt. Col. Ariel Pol, NYMEPS commander. “As ‘Freedom’s Front Door,’ NYMEPS is proud to meet the nation’s call of tomorrow by evaluating applicants’ qualifications for enlistment into the Space Force, where these men and women will serve on the cutting edge to protect the United States vital national interest in the space domain.”

Capt. Preston Giddens, NYMEPS operations officer, was the presiding officer for the Oath of Enlistment.

“It was exciting to be a part of the next iteration of the Department of Defense’s evolution,” said Giddens. “NYMEPS was aware we would be processing Space Force applicants in the near future, but did not expect it this quickly. It was an honor to be a part of this.”

As for processing, Giddens said it was no different from the other branches. However, as the Space Force is still in the process of finalizing their insignia, publications, and other designs, updating official symbols has been delayed.

“Our organization is still waiting on receiving the remaining display items to make things more realistic,” said Giddens. “We have the service flag in our Oath of Enlistment Room, but are waiting on the branch crest to display on our wall.”

The new recruit, Fernando Lopez, said he was drawn to the Space Force because of their cutting edge technology and it was a journey into unknown territory. He added that he will potentially enlist into the intelligence career field.

By the end of FY21, the Space Force is expected to have about 6,500 active-duty Space Force members.