South Laurel High School graduate joins the U.S. Space Force

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 3:12 PM EST
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A graduate of South Laurel High School is reaching new heights becoming a member of the newest branch of the United States military, the United States Space Force.

On Monday, Eric Merriss joined the military branch something his mom, Sandra Russell, says is a big accomplishment for the kid who always had a love for space.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing for him to finally see his dreams come true. Ever since he was a little boy he wanted to be an astronaut and this is the closest thing he’ll probably get to it because he’s been in the military for about 10 years in the Air Force,” said Russell. “I still drug him to all the museums and the space academies and things like that to make sure he got his dreams and accomplished those because that’s what he always wanted to do was work with space. "

After several years in the United States Air Force working with cyberspace technology he is moving on to become a Space Force Guardian.

“Basically he’s like the Houston that you see in the movies. He will be doing the groundwork and the legwork on the ground when the space shuttle takeoff and things like that,” said Russell.

Russell says it all started in Laurel County as he was a member of the South Laurel High School JROTC.

“I know the JROTC at South Laurel High School is very proud of him as well. He went through there and that was a very big push for him and he was so proud to be part of that program and it really had an influence on his life as well,” said Russell. “I just know that he’s gonna be a role model for these children that live in this area to know that we can do these things as well.”

He reaches for the stars while inspiring other space seekers to do the same.

The United States Space Force was created in December of 2019 but does not yet have a headquarters location.

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