A crowd of thousands roared to life Saturday night as future service men and women walked onto the ice during an Oath of Enlistment ceremony at the Columbus Blue Jackets game Jan. 21 in Columbus, Ohio. Among those on the ice were 10 future Marines who shared this moment with family, friends and Blue Jackets fans who sat in the stands.
“They know what it means because not everybody has what it takes, not everybody says the oath and can really feel the words behind it,” said Staff Sgt. Logan Krivak, a canvassing recruiter for the Columbus area.
The Oath of Enlistment is a pledge made by each enlisted member of the Armed Forces. This is the final step before basic training and confirms their duty to defend the constitution and obey orders given by officers appointed over them.
“It was pretty amazing to see everything from the soldiers rappelling from the ceiling to the kids swearing the oath,” said Kathy Bowdoin, a Columbus Blue Jackets fan. “I think it’s amazing what these young kids are willing to do for their country.”
Steven Petrovsky, 18, and his fellow poolees were sworn in as part of the Marine Corps’ Delayed Entry Program. Individuals going on active duty first enlist into the DEP. This is an enlistment into the inactive reserves, with an agreement to report for active duty, to ship out to boot camp at a specific time in the future. Individuals can be in the DEP up to a year, which gives them ample time to prepare for the rigors of Marine Corps Recruit Training.
“To me it means that you’re willing to put yourself out there to defend the constitution,” said Petrovsky, a senior at Grove City High School. “To fight for everyone’s rights to live the way they want to live. It makes me take pride in myself and the people taking the oath with me. It shows that there are people that care and are willing to take a different path in life to protect the country they love.”
With the spotlights pointed toward center ice, the future service members raised their right hands and made the life altering Oath, a promise to something bigger than themselves, and possibly impacting more than just the crowd in front of them.
“I’d like to see them realize that every generation has people that are willing and care enough to put themselves on the line to protect people that they don’t even know personally,” said Petrovsky. “And that they care enough about this country to put their life on the line if they have to.”
Story by Sgt. Caitlin Brink