FORT SILL, Oklahoma, March 6, 2020 -- Seven Lawton high school students are among the first in the nation who can say that an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) administered their oath of enlistment.Along with more than 1,000 high school enlistees at over 150 sites across the nation, they raised their right hands to repeat the words recited by Army Col. Andrew Morgan, a Soldier-turned-physician-turned-astronaut who is serving on the ISS.Morgan said the ISS is now on its 20th year of continuous occupation by astronauts and cosmonauts from all over the world. Its crew recently dropped in size from six a couple weeks ago to three. A few months before, it had as many as nine on board.It's in orbit 250 miles above the Earth and traveling at over 17,000 mph, which means it makes a trip around the Earth every 90 minutes, or 16 times a day.During Morgan's time in space, the crew will conduct nearly 200 science experiments and maintain the space station by doing multiple space walks."But before I took this nine-month journey to space as an astronaut I was a Soldier first. I made the decision when I was 18 years old to raise my right hand, just like you're about to. I am still a Soldier. I'm just serving in space on the ultimate high ground. I'm here as a direct result of the incredible opportunities I had in the Army, and I'm a Soldier through and through," Morgan said.One of the seven Lawtonians taking the oath was Mikayla Whalen-Blanding, 17, the battalion commander for Eisenhower High School (Ike) Junior ROTC program."I have my other top two in my armor with me today," she said.When asked if she comes from a military family, Whalen-Blanding replied, "Somewhat. My dad was in the Marines, but he got out before I was born. My older sister, she's in the Navy."The Ike senior said she decided to "go Army" because she felt it would strengthen her leadership abilities and give her more skills so she could be better set for her life and her future."I'm going to be a 42 Alpha, which is Human Resource Specialist," she said.She will graduate high school May 22 and leave June 2 for Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where she will go through combat basic as well as advanced individual training.Whalen-Blanding said she's very excited about what lies before her. Currently, she does participate in drill because she's joining the Army Reserve."Once a month I go and do my Army job. I get to wear the OCPs (operational camouflage pattern uniform) and be with my unit that I'll actually be in once I graduate. It's a really good experience because I've done the gas chamber, we've shot at the range, all kinds of crazy things that are going to prepare me for basic," she said.Anthony Clark, 18, is likewise a senior at Eisenhower and the command sergeant major of its JROTC unit."I'm in charge of all the first sergeants of the individual classes, the companies. And the color guard, I'm in charge of that as well," he said.Clark said he loves having all that responsibility and taking care of all the JROTC cadets. He looks forward to expanding on that opportunity."I'm ready to go enlisted and continue my life like that," he said.He has also enlisted in the National Guard, completed basic training, and chosen infantry for his branch. He's now in the process of transferring to active duty and plans to go through AIT at Fort Benning, Georgia, this summer. He's trying to get into Ranger School as well, under an option 40 contract that includes Airborne and Ranger schools as possibles for him."I have a 300 PT score, so I might as well go for it," Clark said.His parents are not military, but his grandfathers were, and they've been big life influences for him. Both served in the Army, and his maternal grandfather was a first sergeant and a Ranger.Clark said he was ecstatic about having an astronaut administer his oath of enlistment."It's probably one of the craziest things I've done, honestly," he said.Another Ike senior, Mickel Harris, 18, was excited to have a connection to the Space Force, the new military service that's being stood up under the wing of the Air Force."It's great to be a part of this. Me and my battle buddies all feel like this is a great opportunity for us in the youth to be a part of this. This is very important. This is the newest (service) in the military," he said.That doesn't mean he wants to join the Space Force, though."I'm interested in Earth-level things. I joined to be on Earth. Space, maybe sometime in the future, but right now I'm an Earth-level guy. I want to stay on Earth. I want to try to help Earth with its problems before we go out to space and discover more problems there," Harris said.He's been interested in the Army ever since he can remember."I actually recently joined here, so that was great," Harris said. "I joined the Oklahoma National Guard because I want to help where I grew up. We have two missions, state and federal, which means when the governor needs us, we're there. When the president needs us, we're there. So I want to be a part of those missions and help out as much as I possibly can."Harris leaves June 15 for One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning so he can become a National Guard infantryman. He'll have the same battle buddies and same squad in AIT that he does in basic training, and it will all be conducted over the course of 16 weeks.Upon his return to Lawton, he will be a freshman at Cameron University drilling with ROTC cadets before he commissions as a second lieutenant in the Guard. He plans to major in either engineering or business.Maj. Craig Redfearn, senior Army instructor for MacArthur's JROTC program, said Feb. 26, is the cadets' day to wear their uniforms, so they turned out in full dress to support the enlistees. The seven included four cadets from Eisenhower High School, two from MacArthur and one from Lawton High School.The other four JROTC cadets taking the oath Wednesday were Elijah Virriet and Trinity Hoffman, major of the MacArthur High School battalion; Joseph Churchwell from Eisenhower High School; and Sean Davenport from Lawton High School.