RICHMOND, Va. –
Richmond Recruiting Battalion future Soldiers joined high school students from across the U.S. in the first nationwide oath of enlistment ceremony that was, quite literally, out of this world Feb. 26.
Col. Andrew Morgan, Army and NASA astronaut, virtually administered the oath of enlistment from aboard the International Space Station to over 1,000 future Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors.
The Richmond Recruiting Battalion alone welcomed nearly 30 future Soldiers, from ceremony locations at Princeton Senior High School in Princeton, West Virginia, and Prince George High School in Richmond, Virginia.
“Getting sworn in by someone in space has to be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” said future Soldier Matteo Valerio. “It was really an honor.”
Valerio was one of two students from Prince George High School to participate in the first national enlistment from space.
“I’ve wanted to join the Army ever since I was little,” Valerio said. “I want to push myself and show everyone what I’m capable of.”
Surrounded by peers and school administrators in Prince George’s JROTC classroom, Valerio and fellow student Emily Guzman Morales stood at position of attention, right hands raised, and recited the words so many future Soldiers before them have said.
"I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
After completing their oaths, Valerio and Guzman were met with applause, hugs, and words of support.
“It made me a little nervous to be in front of so many people,” Guzman admitted. “But I know I’m doing the right thing.”
Guzman chose to enlist as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) specialist as her intended career upon completing Basic Combat Training.
“I’ve always been interested in science,” Guzman said. “Col. Morgan used to be exactly where I’m standing when he decided to join and now he’s in space. I’m not sure if I want to shoot for the stars like Col. Morgan, but I’m excited to see when my Army career will take me.”
Following the oath of enlistment, Morgan offered this piece of advice for the many students preparing for basic training.
“All things that are worth doing are hard,” Morgan said. “As you set off on this journey, you will at some time hear that voice in your head that tells you ‘maybe this isn’t for you’…and that is your signal that what you’re doing is worth doing.”
Both Valerio and Guzman are scheduled to attend basic training after graduation.