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Beginning their service

Two area graduates take part in Army enlistment ceremony in Marshall

Photo by Deb Gau From left to right, Shawn Cremeans and Jayden Torgeson enlisted in the U.S. Army in a ceremony at Memorial Park in Marshall on Thursday afternoon. Holding the ceremony in the park made it possible for Cremeans and Torgeson’s families to be there while they took the oath of enlistment.

MARSHALL — It was their first step toward serving their country. And recent area high school graduates Shawn Cremeans, of Milroy, and Jayden Torgeson, of Balaton, were able to share it with their families in an outdoor enlistment ceremony at Memorial Park on Thursday.

Cremeans and Torgeson raised their right hands and repeated after Capt. Jason Lee as they took the oath of enlistment, swearing to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.

“The oath of enlistment is one that binds us all together,” said Lee, the U.S. Army recruiting company commander for southern Minnesota. “It’s the same oath that everyone here in uniform has taken.”

Thursday’s ceremony was held in Marshall as a way to allow family and members of the public to be present. Over the past year, COVID-19 safety rules prohibited guests as new Army recruits enlisted. While both Torgeson and Cremeans had technically already enlisted before Thursday, re-creating the ceremony in the park was a way to bring things a little more back to normal, said Staff Sgt. Tristan Fletcher, a U.S. Army recruiter in Marshall.

Being able to have family members at Thursday’s ceremony was “Pretty cool, since we didn’t get to do it the first time,” Torgeson said.

“It was kind of relaxing,” Cremeans said.

Cremeans said he knew he wanted to go into military service, and he would be going into field artillery. Torgeson said he had been interested in joining the military, but ended up speaking with a recruiter before he made his final decision to enlist. Fletcher said Torgeson was joining the Army to be a combat medic.

“I understand this is a huge commitment,” Lee told the two recruits and their families. “The choice to serve is very selfless,” but it can also be hard, he said. But regardless of where Cremeans and Torgeson found themselves, they would learn lessons that would stay with them for life, Lee said.

Torgeson and Cremeans said they will be leaving for basic training later this month. After they took the oath of enlistment on Thursday, they also said they wanted to thank their parents, family members and sergeants for supporting them.

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