[Note: Image, originally from Facebook, courtesy of Military.com.]
“I, Plastic Dino,
do solemnly swear
that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States
and the orders of the officers appointed over me,
according to regulations
and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
So help me God .”
“If it is right and proper
that someone gains their citizenship
through service to this great nation
of ours, how can it be wrong for
a plastic T-Rex of a maligned race,
whose relatives are hunted on
jungle islands and bombed to
destruction in movies to join
in a willingness to adhere to this nation
and to obey the orders of our President
and to follow regulations as well
so that you may know that plastic dinosaurs
are as willing to endure hardship to
serve our nation as anyone else here,
even if my arms are short and my teeth sharp?”
It appears that there has been a bit of a brouhaha concerning a somewhat silly re-enlistment video out of Tennessee where a re-enlistment, to the extent that the person who made the oath in the above photo was fired and there are other repercussions that are possible. There are at least a few replies that are possible to this. One response, and I think this will be the most common one from civilians as a whole, is to wonder why the military doesn’t have much of a sense of humor. Most civilians, after all, do not solemnly swear to anything, and probably do not have the sort of seriousness about military matters that one would assume would be the case among those who are paid and honor bound to defend our country from enemies, foreign and domestic. One would expect that those who are or have been in the military would view this sort of thing as a profanation of a very serious oath.
In light of that, I thought it would be worthwhile to picture the military oath from the point of view of the poor and lamented plastic dino whose presence in a solemn ceremony has caused such trouble. For one, I thought it worthwhile to quote the oath that the person bringing the dinosaur likely said, and put it from the point of view of the plastic dino itself. Let us note that this is an immensely serious oath. It is an oath of commitment taken before God, something I take seriously at any rate when it is done at baptism and marriage, and that someone should take seriously given the life and death importance of obedience and acting in defense of a country. Given that the oath is a commitment to follow the orders of superiors and at least implicitly to act in ways that do not bring dishonor upon the institution as a whole, it would appear that a plastic dino would not be fitting for such a serious time, and suggest that the people who approved of such a video do not take their service particularly seriously.
As someone who likes to imagine myself in somewhat maligned or unusual perspectives , I thought it would be worthwhile to think of what the plastic t-rex on the hand of the former air force public relations sergeant would speak in its defense if it could speak. Plastic dinos are creatures of fiction and imagination, and one could easily see such a being lamenting the negative portrayal of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Part series, for example, and confusing such fictional treatment with the real life seriousness of making an oath to defend one’s country. It is somewhat striking, moreover, that the former airman at the base of this worked in public relations. Perhaps all that time spent trying to think of ways to make the Air Force look cool to those outside of the air force led her to fail at thinking of what was necessary for her as someone inside the Air Force to uphold the honor and reputation of the institution she served. Sometimes when we look outside to what might go viral and appear funny or cute, we fail to realize the seriousness of what we are about.
There is certainly a time and place for a plastic dino in the Air Force. One can amuse oneself with imaginary dialogues between oneself and said dino in the hours of boredom that exist when one does not want to read or watch television or anything else. One could, for example, at a post-enrollment party held at the local Px Exchange have a fun time with a plastic dino on one’s hand. However, the solemnity of the oath and the sensitivity of institutions to looking silly or ridiculous, especially when they deal in life and death matters of the utmost seriousness, are not appropriate places for plastic dinos to be. Would such a dino be out of place or inappropriate if one were going under oath in a courtroom, giving the oath of office if being elected to political office, or making a commitment before God and others at a baptism or wedding or ordination? I would think so, and in that light, the dino was definitely a bad idea. Too bad the dinosaur is the only one involved who is unable to give a perspective of what it is like to be at the center of such storm and trouble.
 Enlistment oath quoted above cited from:
 See, for example: