Most military recruits probably wouldn't be able to recall exactly who swore them into service.
But more than 1,000 future service members were part of an unforgettable ceremony Wednesday when Army Col. Andrew Morgan, stationed on the International Space Station some 250 miles in low-Earth orbit, swore in recruits at 150 locations across the country.
This first-ever nationwide oath of enlistment from space, spearheaded by the Army, was primarily hosted at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, but also at high schools and recruiting stations from coast to coast.
"Today marks the first day of the rest of your lives," Morgan, floating in his blue flight suit with an Army shirt underneath, said before asking recruits to stand and raise their right hand. "You will be forever changed by the decision to serve your country."
In a NASA-provided feed, Morgan's downlink could be seen playing back at several locations, recruits destined for all branches of the military repeating the oath of enlistment.
"Col. Morgan, in the 30 years years that I've had in service, that's probably the most amazing thing I've ever seen," Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis of the Army's recruiting command said at Space Center Houston. "I thank you very much for that."
Following the ceremony, the astronaut took an additional 10 minutes from his ISS duties to answer questions from recruits.
Morgan, selected for NASA's astronaut corps in 2013, is an emergency physician and graduate of The U.S. Military Academy, also known as West Point. He currently serves as a flight engineer on the orbiting outpost hurtling around Earth at 17,000 mph.
"I am still a soldier, just serving in space on the ultimate high ground," Morgan said. "This will certainly be one of the greatest memories of my time here."
Contact Emre Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly. Support his space journalism by subscribing at floridatoday.com/specialoffer/.