FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 27, 2020) – Col. Andrew Morgan, a NASA astronaut aboard the International Space Station, administered the oath of enlistment Wednesday to six students at Waynesville High School through a two-way video conference call — all while in Earth’s orbit.
Army officials said it was the first ever enlistment ceremony performed from space.
Fort Leonard Wood and Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge said the historic event signified collaboration across multiple agencies, just like the relationship between Waynesville R-VI School District and the installation.
“It’s a huge honor for the folks enlisting into our Army, and I think it’s deserving,” Breckinridge said. “I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Seventy-six percent of the district’s student population is “military-impacted,” with 66 percent of students having parents who work on Fort Leonard Wood, district officials said.
“There are no walls that separate the fort and the Waynesville-St. Robert area, we are one family,” Breckinridge said. “Obviously, we understand the impact that we have as a military on the school district.”
Waynesville students Cameron Scott, Gavin James, Arthur Perry-Hardy, Joshua Scheuner, Tyger Cole and John Cotto all joined the Army for their own reasons, they said, but none anticipated the opportunity to meet Morgan.
“My specialty is 68C, which is a practical nursing specialist. At a young age I knew, that was what I wanted to do,” Scott said. “When I heard that an astronaut was going to be swearing me in, I was super excited, and I felt like this was a tremendous honor to be swearing all of us in because how busy their schedule must be.”
Scott was not alone in feeling starstruck.
“Growing up, I was always fascinated about space, and I always wanted to work with or go to space,” Cole said. “It means a lot to me.”
Four of the six students have parents who work on the fort, three of whom serve in uniform.
The ceremony was one of many across the country as Morgan simultaneously “swore in” nearly 1,000 future service members at 157 different locations.
“I am proud that we have six students who have chosen to join and defend our country and way of life,” WHS Principal Randy Luebbert said. “Anytime we have students who choose to serve their country, it is awesome to see, and it continues to demonstrate why we have the best country in the world. Having their oath administered from space for the first time is definitely exciting and something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
U.S. Army Recruiting Command collaborated with NASA in coordination of the event, which was centrally located at the Space Center in Houston, Texas, where more than 20 future Soldiers were sworn in.
The Army and NASA broadcasted live feed coverage across their respective social media platforms.
The USAREC Public Affairs Office reminded those interested in space technology that while there are only three Army astronauts, many different military occupations work with space-enabled systems.
For more information on the different roles available within the Army, visit https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs.html.
B-roll footage of the event can be found at https://www.dvidshub.net/video/740898/future-soldiers-missouri-participate-oath-enlistment-space
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission