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Called to duty

With the mountains and F-16 jets in the background, the U.S. Air Force held a swearing-in ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base on May 30 for its new recruits. Three Falcon high school graduates were among 40 young men and women committed to serving their country.Falcon high school graduate Violet Delgado, age 18, got her first taste of the Air Force as a young girl, when her grandfather brought her to Pete Field. She said the experience left a lasting impression. “This is something I wanted since I was a little girl,” Delgado said.She has a couple of months to enjoy the summer before she leaves for basic training Aug. 7. She will graduate in September, with plans to serve in administration. “It’s been a lot of fun to get to know people,” Delgado said. “That’s what I like about it.”The Air Force Thunderbirds swore in the new recruits at the oath and enlistment ceremony. Staff Sgt. J. Russell Martin, Air Force Thunderbird public affairs representative, said this year marks 60 years since the founding of the Air Force and 54 years since the introduction of the Thunderbirds. “We look forward to representing the Air Force wherever we go,” Martin said.Tech. Sgt. Royce Estepp, an Air Force recruiter, said the Air Force enlists about 250 new recruits from southern Colorado every year. “New recruits are required to be 17 to 27 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent and good moral character,” he said.Sam LaRocca from Falcon High School will serve in the intelligence division and Richard Flores will be part of security forces, Estepp said. All are scheduled to leave for six weeks of basic training this summer.Of the opportunity to serve in the Air Force, Delgado said, “It has opened my eyes to greater things.”Editor’s note: Sam LaRocca and Richard Flores did not return the NFH phone calls.

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