By Daniel Gilbert, Oklahoma City Recruiting BattalionJanuary 27, 2010
Oklahoma dignitaries from various government offices and all military branches joined together to sign and demonstrate the U.S. Army's Community Covenant, January 11, 2010, during half time at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New York Knicks NBA game at the Oklahoma City Ford Center.
The Community Covenant is a formal commitment of support by state and local communities to improve the quality of life for Soldiers and their Families both at home and abroad, regardless of the branch of service they belong to. The Community Covenant ceremony was part of the Oklahoma City Thunder's Military Appreciation Night with the Oklahoma City Recruiting Battalion which included outside military vehicle displays, a joint-service enlistee swear-in, and a jumbo 3'X6' Community Covenant replica for Thunder fans to sign as they entered the arena.
The formal ceremony signatories included Congressman Tom Cole, 4th district of Oklahoma; Capt. Dwight Shepherd, U.S. Navy Commander of Strategic Communications, Wing One; Dr. Sharon Lease, Asst. State Superintendent of Oklahoma Education; Col. Anthony Johnson, Commander of the U.S. Marine Corp Artillery Detachment; Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City; Brig. Gen. Roger Duff of the U.S. Army Reserves; Dr. Gib Gibson, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army; Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, Adjutant General of the Oklahoma National Guard; Maj. Gen. (r) Toney Stricklin, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army; Maj. Gen. David Gillett, Commanding General, Oklahoma City Air Logistics, Tinker Air Force Base; Jeri Askins, Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma; and Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Commanding General, Fire Center of Excellence, Fort Sill.
After signing Lt. Governor Askins expressed her gratitude and said, "We want to thank and support all the men and women who serve our country."
Maj. Gen. Halverson replied, "I want to thank Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma for all its support to our service members."
Following the formal signing, a joint-service enlistee swear-in was conducted by Lt. Col. Tom Artis, Commander of the U.S. Army Oklahoma City Recruiting Battalion. Lt. Col. Artis spoke with a sense of camaraderie before administering the oath of enlistment and stated, "Although we all may wear different uniforms, we are all one military. Without you supporting us, what we do wouldn't be possible."
The stadium crowd responded to the Community Covenant signing and joint-service swear-in ceremonies with enthusiastic cheers and applause. Over 200 Oklahoma citizens signed the public Community Covenant document and the entire evening generated a patriotic atmosphere experienced by all who attended.