Do You Swear In at MEPS Twice? Everything You Need to Know

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

You’re about to begin on an exciting journey by joining the military, and the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is a crucial step. One question that often comes up is whether you swear in at MEPS twice. Understanding this process can help ease any anxieties and ensure you’re well-prepared.

Swearing in at MEPS marks significant milestones in your enlistment journey. It’s not just a formality; it’s a commitment to serve your country. But do you really have to go through this ceremony twice? Let’s jump into the details so you know exactly what to expect.

Understanding MEPS and the Swearing-In Process

Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is crucial for those entering the service. You’ll encounter MEPS early in your enlistment journey.

What is MEPS?

MEPS evaluates your fitness for military service. It includes medical examinations, aptitude tests, and background screenings. There are 65 MEPS locations across the United States. Each one ensures recruits meet the necessary standards.

Overview of the Swearing-In Ceremony

The swearing-in ceremony, also known as the Oath of Enlistment, is a significant part of MEPS. You pledge allegiance to defend the Constitution. First, you’ll take the oath after passing initial screenings and evaluations. Then, after completing basic training, you’ll swear in again, reaffirming your commitment. This process marks your transition to full military life.

The Two Swearing-In Events

The MEPS process includes two pivotal swearing-in events. These ceremonies mark essential milestones for recruits and emphasize commitment to military service.

The First Swear-In: Enlistment Purpose

The first swear-in occurs after successful completion of medical exams, aptitude tests, and background screenings. This initial oath, known as the Oath of Enlistment, formally introduces recruits to military life. It’s your pledge to support and defend the Constitution, signifying your serious commitment. Immediately following this ceremony, your enlistment contract takes effect, and your status changes from applicant to enlistee.

The Second Swear-In: Before Shipping Out

The second swear-in happens shortly before departing for basic training. This reaffirmation of the first oath ensures your continued dedication to your enlistment terms. It signals the final step in the MEPS process and your readiness to begin on formal military training. Your reaffirmed oath carries you into the next phase of your military journey, reinforcing your transition from civilian to service member.

Reasons Behind Multiple Swearing-Ins

Legal and Formal Requirements

MEPS has specific legal requirements. The initial swearing-in, following your evaluations, confirms your commitment to the U.S. Constitution. This ceremony, mandated by law, verifies that you’ve passed all necessary tests and checks.

The second swearing-in happens right before you depart for basic training. This event, while similar, serves to legally reaffirm your commitment, ensuring no changes in your status or consent since the first oath. This legal safeguard maintains the integrity and preparedness of those entering basic training.

Psychological and Commitment Reasons

The psychological impact of multiple swearing-ins reinforces your dedication. The first oath marks your transition from civilian to military life, which can feel monumental. It’s your initial pledge to defend and serve.

The second swearing-in, before basic training, refreshes this commitment. It mentally prepares you for the challenging journey ahead, reinforcing your readiness and resolve. By repeating the oath, you’re reminded of your responsibilities and the seriousness of your decision, ensuring you’re fully committed to starting your training with a clear and determined mindset.

Experiences at MEPS

What to Expect During Your Visits

At MEPS, expect a thorough and structured process each time you visit. The first visit typically involves medical examinations and aptitude tests. You’ll undergo a physical that includes everything from blood tests to hearing exams. MEPS ensures you meet the necessary health and fitness standards for military service.

You’ll also take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) during this visit. This test evaluates your strengths and helps determine your job opportunities within the military. MEPS staff will guide you through each step, ensuring you understand the procedures.

The second visit mainly focuses on administrative tasks and the second swearing-in ceremony. Your initial oath, taken during the first visit, affirms your commitment to enlistment and the Constitution. During the second visit, you’ll finalize your enlistment contract, double-check medical records, and reaffirm your oath before heading to basic training.

  1. Get Adequate Sleep: Ensure you’re well-rested before both visits to MEPS. Your body needs to be in top condition for medical evaluations. Lack of sleep can affect your performance on tests and exams.
  2. Bring Necessary Documents: Carry identification, Social Security card, and any required medical records. Missing documents can delay the process and add stress to an already demanding day.
  3. Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and avoid excessive accessories. You may be asked to undress for physical exams, so consider easy-to-remove attire. Closed-toe shoes are advisable for safety.
  4. Eat a Healthy Meal: A balanced meal can help you stay focused during testing. Avoid heavy or greasy foods that can cause discomfort or affect your energy levels.
  5. Stay Hydrated: Drink water but avoid excessive caffeine. Hydration is crucial for accurate medical test results and overall well-being during the long process.
  6. Listen Carefully: Pay attention to instructions from MEPS personnel. Misunderstandings can lead to mistakes or delays in the process.
  7. Stay Calm: The process can be lengthy and stressful, but maintaining a calm demeanor will help you get through it efficiently. Remember, everyone there is working to help you succeed.

These tips, drawn from extensive military experience, will help you navigate MEPS with confidence and ease.


Understanding the swearing-in process at MEPS can make your transition into military life smoother. By preparing adequately and knowing what to expect, you can navigate the medical exams, aptitude tests, and administrative tasks with confidence. Remember to focus on your well-being, stay organized, and approach the experience with a calm mindset. Your commitment to serving your country begins with these important steps, and being well-prepared will set a strong foundation for your military journey.


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