A Lie To Start Your Career

Just a week prior to USAFA’s graduation, I was discussing the oath of office with a graduating cadet.  I know this cadet is an atheist and part of the Cadet Freethinkers’ Club.  Out of curiosity, I asked him whether he intended to include the last four optional words when he took the oath.  He said that he almost certainly was, but also pointed out that his parents and most of his family attending are atheists, too.  I asked him why he was worried and he said that he didn’t want to run the risk of sabotaging his career before it ever got started.  He went on to explain that he knew that some in his squadron would be keeping informal “track” of anyone who didn’t conform and that he also didn’t know who else would be in the audience–possibly senior or other officers from his first base who would notice and care.  In summary, he said (and I paraphrase), “I’d rather just lie, get it over with, not cause a stir, and move on than run any risks at this point.”  Sadly, I did see his point.  I’d done the same 25-plus years before and, I realized, things hadn’t much changed in that regard.    I dropped the subject, but not before reassuring him that he probably was making the right, rational decision.  Cooperate and graduate.  Solemnly swear and conclude with a lie to start your career.  It wasn’t too long ago that that was the case for all LGB cadets.  Alas, It still remains so for some.
 A Senior Air Force Officer and USAFA Grad

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