So Help Me God—or Not

The Defense Department’s General Counsel has ruled that airmen may choose to omit the words “So help me God” from enlistment and officer appointment oaths, service officials announced. The Air Force requested the opinion after an airman at Creech AFB, Nev., omitted the words while taking his verbal oath. “We take any instance in which airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in a Sept. 17 release. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our airmen’s rights are protected.” Though it will take a couple weeks to update the appropriate Air Force Instructions, the “policy change is effective now,” states the release.