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Civilians take oath, provide mission continuity

New Team Shaw civilian employees take an oath during a civilian oath ceremony at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 12, 2016. Appropriated fund civil servants must take an oath before assuming duty, swearing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

New Team Shaw civilian employees take an oath during a civilian oath ceremony, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 12, 2016. Appropriated fund civil servants must take an oath before assuming duty, swearing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Just as service members around the country have raised their right hands and taken the oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” so have the civilians who work alongside them.

Civilian workers who take this oath assume the position of appropriated fund civil servants and serve alongside their brothers and sisters in arms.

The civilian oath states that working for the federal government requires a unique level of public service and dedication.

“As appropriated fund civil servants, we are required to take the oath before assuming duty, to include returns to the states from overseas locations,” said Christopher Orbe, 20th Force Support Squadron human resource specialist. “The oath is taken by civil servants transitioning from base to base or assignment changes.”

The history of the oath for federal employees can be found in Article II of the Constitution, which includes the specific oath the President takes, to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Civil servants bring continuity to the mission at home and abroad as part of the Department of Defense civilian expeditionary workforce. Civilian employees fill critical functions in support of combat operations, contingencies, emergency operations, humanitarian missions and stability operations of the DOD in several locations across the globe.

“Civilians are an integral part of the total force,” said April Burnette, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron real property accountable officer. “To me the civilian oath is a binding commitment exuding 'One Team, One Fight,' and one I have been proud to embrace.”

With the countless contributions civil servants provide to the total force, U.S. armed forces stateside and overseas can more effectively accomplish their mission.