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News | Dec. 17, 2021

Amarillo’s first Space Force enlistment is part of the family

By U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Juliana E. Morrison Amarillo MEPS

Just five days before the U.S. Space Force’s second birthday, 19-year-old Dakota Veale raised his right hand to enlist as Amarillo MEPS’ very first Space Force applicant.

Since he was young, Dakota knew what he wanted to do when he grew up:  work for NASA. Hailing from Amarillo, he was studying mechanical engineering at West Texas A&M University, when he began contemplating whether that was the right course of study for him. His father, David also suggested he consider the military.

So Dakota began researching the Air Force, and then the Space Force. He was immediately drawn to the young service’s opportunities and started his enlistment process. His stepmother, Erica is an Air Force liaison at the MEPS.

 “It was interesting going through this process with her,” Dakota said. “She was very professional with every question she had to ask me, even though she knew all the answers already.”  Dakota said he was grateful they got to share the experience.

Over the last eight months leading up to his enlistment, Dakota has been able to fully comprehend the sacrifices he will make once he ships – in particular – leaving his family and home for the first time. He has found comfort in talking with his older brother, who recently joined the Navy. “My brother told me I’m going to love serving in the military. He is in school now … and reassures me this is going to be a great thing for me to do, so it’s really an exciting time!”

Dakota’s next step is choosing a job, and that will determine when he will ship. He values the opinions of his family and will rely on them to help him choose a career field. Dakota recognizes himself as a good problem solver and wanted to find more creative ways to exercise the passion he has to find a job he not only loves but is successful at doing.

When asked about his future in the military he said, “I definitely want to make this a career, I’m fully committed to serving 20 years and would love to land a job at the Pentagon after I retire from the service.”