By Jay Field
Los Angeles District
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — Nearly 100 future service members took the Oath of Enlistment Feb. 24 in a roped off parking lot of the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall in front of the Armed Forces' newest Career Center.
The future Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines stood at attention and raised their right hands as a Marine Corps captain led them in reciting the oath before family, friends and dignitaries gathered for the event.
"We have a long tradition in our community of service to our country through the men and women and their families who call Santa Clarita their home," said Laurie Ender, Santa Clarita mayor. "The opening of the new Armed Forces Career Center ensures that future generations will continue this service and carry on the values of honor, loyalty and commitment to our country, so well exemplified by your parents and your grandparents."
The opening of the career center also featured an Air Force JROTC color guard and a choir from nearby Valencia High School, as well as a dazzling array of equipment on display, including audio-visual laden Hummers, a mock jet fighter and a climbing wall.
The 5,147 square foot career center features facilities for all four services, with the Army getting the most space to accommodate its Pinnacle design, according to Corps realty specialist LaShawn Richardson.
"They consolidate all their substations into one big station so that they can just process you here, instead of going from station to station to process into the military," said Richardson.
Like most real estate principles, location played a big part in the selection of the mall as the site for the career center.
"Right behind it is the food court, so it's easier for people to see the space," said Dustin Ku, Corps realty specialist. "All their business is walk-in traffic, so foot traffic is most important."
Each service has its own storefront, whereas in many locations they're co-located with a single entrance. For cost savings, they share a common area behind.
The recruiters recently moved from their original location in a small strip mall three-and-a-half miles away in Canyon Country. Realty specialists said the lengthy relocation process included market research, locating suitable properties and requesting proposals from property owners before the Corps and recruiters selected the Valencia Town Center mall as the home of the new recruiting station.
"This new career center is a great example of how the Corps is Building Strong and taking care of people," said Lt. Col. Steve Sigloch, Los Angeles District deputy commander. "Delivering quality facilities is key to recruiting and retaining the high quality service members we need in today's Armed Forces."
The Los Angeles District manages more than 250 recruiting station leases throughout Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, as part of the Department of Defense Recruiting Facilities Program. The leases are valued at more than $30 million and cover nearly 650,000 square feet of space, roughly three-fourths the size of the Los Angeles Convention Center.