10 U.S. Code § 502 - Enlistment oath: who may administer

(a) Enlistment Oath.— Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:
“I, XXXXXXXXXX, do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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.”
(b) Who May Administer.— The oath may be taken before the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense, any commissioned officer, or any other person designated under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.


(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 17, § 501; Pub. L. 87–751, § 1,Oct. 5, 1962, 76 Stat. 748; renumbered § 502,Pub. L. 90–235, § 2(a)(1)(A),Jan. 2, 1968, 81 Stat. 753; Pub. L. 101–189, div. A, title VI, § 653(a)(1),Nov. 29, 1989, 103 Stat. 1462; Pub. L. 109–364, div. A, title V, § 595(a),Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2235.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source (U.S. Code) Source (Statutes at Large)
501 50:737. May 5, 1950, ch. 169, § 8, 64 Stat. 146.

The words “or affirmation” are omitted as covered by the definition of the word “oath” in section 1 of title 1. The words “of any armed force” are inserted in the last sentence, since they are necessarily implied by their use in the source statute.
References in Text

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, referred to in the oath, is classified to chapter 47 (§ 801 et seq.) of this title.

2006—Pub. L. 109–364designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), inserted heading, struck out concluding provisions which read as follows: “This oath may be taken before any commissioned officer of any armed force.”, and added subsec. (b).
1989—Pub. L. 101–189struck out “or affirmation” after “This oath”.
1962—Pub. L. 87–751substituted “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” for “bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America; that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies whomsoever” and inserted “So help me God” in the oath, and “or affirmation” in text.
Effective Date of 1962 Amendment

Pub. L. 87–751, § 3,Oct. 5, 1962, 76 Stat. 748, provided that: “This Act [amending this section and section 304 of Title 32, National Guard] does not affect any oath taken before one year after its enactment [Oct. 5, 1962].”

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An empty table indicates that we see no relevant changes listed in the classification tables. If you suspect that our system may be missing something, please double-check with the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

10 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large


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