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News | Feb. 27, 2020

Astronaut aboard ISS swears in 27 local future soldiers

By Benjamin Newell Southern California Recruiting Battalion

Twenty-seven future Soldiers from Southern California ceremonially swore-in to the U.S. Army during a nationally televised ceremony led by a Soldier and astronaut aboard the International Space Station Feb. 26.

Col. Andrew Morgan delivered the oath of enlistment and then afforded the future Soldiers the opportunity to ask specific questions about his career and opportunities in science, technology engineering and math within the U.S. Army.

Saddleback Church in Lake Forest hosted Southern California Recruiting Battalion’s ceremony. It was one of more than 150 locations where more than 1000 future Soldiers throughout the country participated in the event.

“I found out there are a lot of opportunities past what I’m interested in now, because what I’m interested in changes all the time,” said Jeremy Nacion, 18, of Irvine.

Nacion will ship to basic training May 11, and is hoping to become a combat medic specialist, one of dozens of STEM careers the Army offers enlisted Soldiers.

“There are a lot of support programs, like the G.I. Bill that I can use to educate myself and open up more doors in the future,” he said.

Saddleback Church provided a large space and support to the recruiting battalion, and Pastor Skip Lanfried opened the ceremony with a prayer and benediction. More than 50 community members attended the ceremony.

“These future Soldiers are making a sacrifice, but so are their families and friends, who you can see at this event,” said Lanfried, who spoke about spiritual resilience during the event. “You see a wide variety of people young men and women from all walks of life, and they can see that they can end up almost anywhere by joining the military - including aboard the ISS.”

Lanfried’s remarks preceded Morgan broadcasting live from the ISS. Morgan recounted not just the highs of his career, illustrated by occupying the ‘ultimate high ground’ in space, but also the lows and challenges he faced. The military provided the opportunity, but he said there were several times when he very nearly changed course and switched career fields.

“I appreciated this event because it wasn’t just about career opportunities, but also about how important it is, as a Soldier, to maintain your spiritual resilience,” said Huntington Beach Future Soldier Patrick Mattiacco, 19, who will ship to basic training March 2. “Spiritual resilience however defined, will help you believe that all things are possible and help you overcome the challenges of a career in the military.”

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