For the first time ever a service branch will conduct an enlistment ceremony from space — and Space Force has no involvement.
Over 800 soldiers-to-be from across the country will raise their right hands on Feb. 26 and take an oath administered by Army colonel and current International Space Station tenant, Andrew Morgan. The ceremony is the product of a partnership between NASA and U.S. Army Recruiting Command, an Army release said.
Morgan will reportedly follow up the enlistment oath by fielding select enlistee questions on a 20-minute video call from his workspace on the ISS, which is currently orbiting the Earth at 17,150 mph — approximately five miles per second.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us to partner with Space Center Houston to recognize future soldiers across the nation with a truly unique experience,” Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis, deputy commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, said in an Army release.
“This is the first event of its kind and will allow us to show the nation the breadth and depth of opportunities the Army offers today’s youth.”
Morgan, one of three astronauts currently serving as an active-duty Army officer, was selected to join NASA in 2013. The combat veteran from Pennsylvania, who has earned both airborne and ranger tabs, served as an emergency physician prior to being tabbed for his current role.
Since becoming an astronaut, Morgan has assisted in numerous projects as his team’s flight engineer — a job that necessitated seven spacewalks outside of the station, the first of which came in August 2019 and lasted for over six and a half hours.
In all, Col. Morgan has spent nearly 46 hours outside the walls of the ISS.
“The young men and women who will begin their Army story with the incredible experience with Col. Morgan are part of our future,” Michaelis said in the release. “They will perform the traditional jobs most people associate with the Army, like infantry and armor, but they will also take on roles many people don’t realize we do — highly technical and specialized careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”
The enlistment ceremony will be available to live stream via NASA TV, the Army’s official YouTube and Facebook pages, and DVIDS.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.