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Swearing in at a US Military Entrance Processing Station

The United States Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM) is a Major Command of the U.S. Department of Defense. The organization screens and processes enlisted recruits into the United States Armed Forces in the 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) it operates throughout the United States.


USMEPCOM is headquartered in North Chicago, Illinois and operates 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) located throughout the United States.[1] Effective Jan. 1, 1982, the Assistant Secretary of the Army changed the processing stations' names from Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Stations (AFEES) to MEPS. The command's motto is Freedom's Front Door, signifying that a service member's military career starts when they walk through the doors of the MEPS.

USMEPCOM is a joint service command under the direction of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, who in turn reports to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Military Entrance Processing Station in Columbus Ohio

MEPS process applicants for military service, putting them through a battery of tests and examinations to ensure that they meet the standards required to serve in the United States Armed Forces.[2] These tests include vision, hearing, blood, and blood pressure tests, a pregnancy test (for women), an examination by a doctor, a height and weight check, urinalysis, a breathalyzer test, a moral/background examination, as well as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).[2] If applicants are deemed qualified for military service, they will also meet with a service counselor, negotiate and sign enlistment contracts, and swear or affirm an entrance oath.[1]

USMEPCOM has been awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award three times. The first award was for the period of 1 July 1982 until 30 April 1985; the second award was for the period of 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2007; and the third award was for the period of 16 April 2016 until 24 May 2019.

USMEPCOM does not process commissioned officer candidates entering the U.S. armed forces through the five U.S. service academies or college and university ROTC programs.

College/university graduate candidates for the services' various officer candidate schools and USAF officer training school accession programs will initially process via a station of USMEPCOM if they have no prior active or inactive military service or if they have not been previously medically qualified while on a military contract through another commissioning program such as that prior to the final two years of college/university level ROTC.

List of processing stations (MEPS)

Military Entrance Processing Stations
MEPS in Montgomery, Alabama
Military Entrance Processing Station in Columbus, Ohio

Eastern Sector

Western Sector


  1. ^ a b Military Recruiting: DoD & Services Need Better Data to Enhance Visibility over Recruiter Irregularities. Government Accountability Office. 2006. ISBN 978-1-4223-0947-6. Archived from the original on 24 April 2024. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  2. ^ a b Schwartz, Amy C.; Mael, Fred A. (1992). Introduction to the Army Personnel System. U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Archived from the original on 24 April 2024. Retrieved 24 April 2024.

Further reading