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Photo of Deb Gau From left to right, Shawn Cremeans and Jayden Torgeson enlisted in the United States Army in a ceremony at Memorial Park in Marshall Thursday afternoon. Holding the ceremony in the park allowed the families of Cremeans and Torgeson to be there as they took the oath of enlistment.

By Deb Gau

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MARSHALL – It was their first step in the service of 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 rehearsed after Captain Jason Lee as they took the enlistment oath, vowing to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.

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

Thursday’s ceremony was held in Marshall to allow family and members of the public to be in attendance. In the past year, COVID-19 safety rules have banned guests when new army recruits have enlisted. While Torgeson and Cremeans had technically enlisted before Thursday, recreating the ceremony in the park was one way to get things a little more back to normal, the Staff Sgt. Tristan Fletcher, a US Army recruiter at Marshall.

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

“It was rather relaxing” said Cremeans.

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

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

Torgeson and Cremeans said they would leave for basic training later this month. After being sworn in on Thursday, they also said they wanted to thank their parents, family members and sergeants for their support.

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