Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave the oath of office to new Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on Tuesday, telling the former New Mexico congresswoman "I need your ideas."

Mattis praised Wilson, who became the second appointee nominated by Trump to head to the Pentagon, during the at-times emotional ceremony.

"If we wanted to do one thing to Webster's unabridged dictionary to define a patriot, with no words we could put up Heather Wilson's picture right next to the word and we would explain what a patriot truly is," Mattis said.

Mattis highlighted Wilson's accomplishments: U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and female veteran in Congress.

"You know, I read Oxford University books. Secretary Wilson writes them," Mattis said to laughs from the audience. "Madam Secretary, I say unequivocally, I need your ideas and this department needs your wisdom."

Following the swearing in, Wilson thanked servicemembers for their work but broke down with emotion during her statement.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein also spoke fondly about his decades-long relationship working with Wilson since they started out in the U.S. Air Force Academy.

"Almost 40 years ago, we stood together in the field house and took our oath of office for the first time," Goldfein said.

Wilson was nominated for the position on Jan. 23 and confirmed by the Senate on May 8.

Two nominees for Army secretary and one for Navy secretary have taken their names out of the running. Trump has yet to submit new names for those positions.

Wilson has little time to rest, as she is scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday afternoon alongside Goldfein to discuss military space organization, policy and programs.