Chuck vs. the Commission


Saturday, August 21st, 1982

The Basic School, Quantico, VA

Alexander Coburn was worn out. Four years he had spent at the Naval Academy, followed by the last three months at the Marine Corps' Basic School at Quantico. He was exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

But he wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere other than where he was at that very moment. And quite frankly, it didn't matter how tired he was – he was damned excited.

"ATTENTION TO COMMISSION!"

Alex snapped to attention, his saber bouncing gently against his leg. It was stifling inside his dress blue uniform, but right at that moment, he just didn't notice.

His company commander glared at him, as only a veteran Marine can. "Mr. Coburn, you have been selected for appointment as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. This is a great honor, and a serious responsibility. Are you prepared for this undertaking?"

Alex set his jaw. "Sir, yes SIR!"

"Very good, Mr. Coburn," his company commander replied. "Please repeat after me. I, state your name…"

"I, Alexander John Coburn… having been appointed second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps… do accept such appointment… and do solemnly swear to 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… that I take this obligation freely… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion… that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter… so help me God."

The company commander reached out and shook Alex's hand. "Well done, son," he said.

Alex grinned, and turned toward the small audience gathered. Stepping forward, he descended the stairs from the stage –

"OFFICER ON DECK!"

The voice of the Marine sergeant-at-arms nearly made Alex jump out of his skin, even though he had been expecting to hear it for a long time. He turned toward the sergeant – a soon-to-retire veteran of the Korean War, a master gunnery sergeant who had been the bane of Alex's existence for the last three months.

With the precision that only Marines seem to be able to master, the gunnery sergeant's white-gloved right hand snapped to the brim of his hat – Lieutenant Coburn's first salute. Automatically, Alex returned the salute. Then, reaching into his uniform pocket, he fished out the 1910 Morgan Silver Dollar he had been carrying around with him for over a year.

He placed the dollar in the palm of his hand, then extending his hand, shook the hand of the gunnery sergeant, passing the dollar off to him. "Thank you, Gunny."


The following two shorts are from the universe of the story Chuck vs. His Destiny.

Saturday, December 16th, 2000
University of Arizona School of Medicine, Tucson, AZ

Devon Woodcomb had spent the last six and a half years working to get to this moment. Sure, in a few more months, he would graduate with his MD, and then begin his residency, but without today, his medical career would be taking a very, VERY different path.

When he had left for the medical school at the University of Arizona in August of 1998, he had done so with an offer from the United States Air Force – they would pay for his schooling; he just had to make an eight year commitment to service in the Air Force medical corps. He thought that was a pretty damn good deal.

Today, he was finally being commissioned, so that he could complete the necessary Officer Training School prior to beginning his residency with the 55th Medical Group at Offut Air Force Base. And sure, maybe he hadn't gone to UCLA – like his parents wanted – and sure, maybe he wasn't going to a prestigious hospital – like his parents wanted – but dammit, he was certain he was going to have the time of his life in the Air Force.

"ATTENTION TO COMMISSION!"

Devon snapped to attention and faced the man across from him. General David Germaine, Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard. "Mr. Woodcomb, please repeat after me. I, state your name…"

"I, Devon Christian Woodcomb… having been appointed second lieutenant in the United States Air Force… do accept such appointment… and do solemnly swear to 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… that I take this obligation freely… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion… that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter… so help me God."

"Congratulations," General Germaine said, smiling and reaching out his hand.

Devon took his hand and shook it. Awesome.


Friday, March 14th, 2003

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Quite frankly, this was the last place Chuck Bartowski wanted to be at just this moment. He was still reeling from discovering Bryce and Jill's joint betrayal just a week before. It was a good thing he was going to march away from this ceremony into Spring Break – he had to get the hell out of there, even if only for a week.

He didn't want to do this today, but his ROTC commander had left him no choice. So, Chuck decided to suck it up and get the damn ceremony over with.

"ATTENTION TO COMMISSION!"

Chuck sighed, but snapped to attention and faced his ROTC commander. "Mr. Bartowski, please repeat after me. I, state your name…"

"I, Charles Irving Bartowski… having been appointed second lieutenant in the United States Air Force… do accept such appointment… and do solemnly swear to 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… that I take this obligation freely… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion… that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter… so help me God."

"Congratulations," his commander said, reaching out to shake his hand. Chuck automatically took it, and then, having been dismissed, got the hell out of there.


The following short is from the universe of Chuck vs. the Fake Empire.

Saturday, May 20th, 2000
Wentworth Military Academy, Lexington, MO

I want to be a Ranger.

The thought had been running through Jenny Burton's head for weeks now. She knew it was an impractical thought – the Rangers didn't allow women. But dammit, she wanted to do it anyway.

Her classmates had all been assigned a random order to go forward, because alphabetically was boring, and by GPA would've indicated favoritism. Either way, Jenny would've normally been near the top, but somehow, with this random order, she had ended up near the bottom.

For some reason, her mind was telling her that she should get used to it.

A variety of dignitaries had come in to do the commissionings at the Wentworth Academy that day, including the very person standing to face Jenny as she came forward – General Eric Shinseki, the Chief of Staff of the US Army. Now THAT was cool.

"Good morning, Ms. Burton," he said with a smile, just loud enough for her to hear.

"Good morning, General Shinseki, sir," she responded. "Thank you for coming, sir."

His smile got a little bigger. "It's my pleasure, Ms. Burton," he replied. "Can I ask, what do you want to do in the Army?"

Before she could stop herself, the words came spilling out of her mouth. "Sir, I want to be a Ranger."

A touch of amusement added itself to General Shinseki's smile, but there was a slight gleam of admiration in his eyes as well. "Well, Ms. Burton, I dare you to go for it. Consider that a personal challenge, from me to you."

Then, he backed away. "ATTENTION TO COMMISSION!"

Jenny snapped to attention. "Ms. Burton, please repeat after me. I, state your name…"

"I, Jennifer Lisa Burton… having been appointed second lieutenant in the United States Army… do accept such appointment… and do solemnly swear to 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… that I take this obligation freely… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion… that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter… so help me God."


The following short is from the "Bright Side" universe.

Saturday, May 22nd, 2032
The US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

Midshipman Lisa Erin Bartowski shouldn't have been nervous. She had spent the last four years at Annapolis being screamed at by, at various times, older midshipmen, Marine Corps gunnery sergeants, Navy chief petty officers who looked like they belonged in pirate stories, and more officers than she could care to imagine.

And yet, as she sat here, about to become an officer in the US Navy, she was still nervous.

She glanced out in the audience. There, sitting right up front, was her family – her father, Chuck Bartowski, her mother, Sarah, her brother, John, and her little sister, Alex.

Little, Lisa thought with a mental snort. Alex had just finished her sophomore year at their father's alma mater – Stanford University. She had grown up MUCH too fast –

Which is undoubtedly what Mom, Dad, and almost certainly Uncle John would say about you, she thought.

And then, it was Lisa's turn to go forward. She rose, and crossed the stage to face Admiral Veatch, the commandant of the Naval Academy.

"ATTENTION TO COMMISSION!" he barked, and Lisa jumped a little – but immediately snapped to attention. "Midshipman Bartowski, please repeat after me. I, state your name…"

"I, Lisa Erin Bartowski… having been appointed ensign in the United States Navy… do accept such appointment… and do solemnly swear to 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… that I take this obligation freely… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion… that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter… so help me God."


The following short is from the real, actual, non-Chuck world.

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, NC

I, James Michael Gawne, Jr… having been appointed ensign in the United States Navy… do accept such appointment… and do solemnly swear to 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… that I take this obligation freely… without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion… that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter… so help me God.


Author's Note: Thank you for indulging me this brief exercise in vanity. As the last short most likely indicates, I was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy yesterday, as I continue down the road to the US Navy Chaplain Corps.
After I had taken the oath of office, I got to thinking – the military has figured quite prevalently in a number of my Chuck fics, and John Casey is, of course, a Marine in canon. And I wondered – what would their oaths of office be like?
As it is, I've been in a little bit of a funk since last weekend – since a reviewer on Chuck vs. the Fake Empire informed me that, in his estimation, the story "has just gotten stupid." So, since I want to resume work on that story, I figured that a little vanity exercise like this would be great to snap me back out of that funk.
Hope you enjoyed… and I should have a new chapter of Fake Empire soon!