WWII veteran issues oath of enlistment during Grissom Air and Space Expo

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

During the year that marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, 75 recruits took center stage during the Grissom Air and Space Expo, at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., Sept. 7, 2019 and recited the oath of enlistment.

It’s an oath taken by all enlisted U.S. military members.

However, this occasion was even more special because retired 1st Lt. Robert Tobey, a World War II veteran, issued the oath.

Tobey, a 96 year-old Monticello, Indiana native, piloted four missions in a B-17 Flying Fortress during WWII.

Tobey enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the Air Force’s predecessor, in 1942. He issued the enlistment at Grissom a little over the 74th anniversary of his own promotion to first lieutenant.

“I had a great time and was happy to be there with everyone on such a big day for them,” said Tobey. “I got to see the whole show and meet with Col. Shaw. I really enjoyed it.”

Hosting a mass enlistment for the local community to witness gives the military and its members the opportunity to share an important and symbolic milestone, marking the beginning of one’s military service

 “This was a total force enlistment, active duty and reserves,” said Senior Master Sgt. Tracey Barry, 434th Air Refueling Wing recruiting flight chief. “All branches of services participated.”

Barry said the significance of the day was monumental for all involved.

“We had 75 enlistees because of the 75th anniversary of D-Day and that was huge,” she said. “And then, of course, it’s such an honor to have had Lt. Col. Tobey here. It was really cool to have all the branches being a part of this on such a big day.”

Following the ceremony, recruits from the 434th Air Refueling Wing, met with leadership and spent time enjoying the air show with their families.

In addition to the mass enlistment, air show attendees were able to visit static displays, vendor and concession booths and view performances from the Army’s Golden Knights and the Air Force Thunderbirds.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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