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Recruiter ‘adapts’ to provide swearing-in ceremony for family

Recruiter ‘adapts’ to provide swearing-in ceremony for family
Recruiter ‘adapts’ to provide swearing-in ceremony for family
Mark Sutton speaks to family and friends before swearing in his grandson, Mason Carnley, into the Army National Guard. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

When the need for social distancing due to COVID-19 prevented family and friends from attending a swearing-in ceremony in Louisville for Mason Carnley of Central, his recruiter, Staff Sgt. David Bridgwater, helped arrange for an outdoor one on April 24 at
Carnley’s home.

Bridgwater said it was organized “in true Army fashion” of adapting and overcoming obstacles.

Carnley is one of the youngest to join the National Guard, enlisting eight days after turning 17, the minimum age one can sign with a recruiter.

“I always wanted to do this as soon as I could,” he said.

A student at Corydon Central High School, Carnley is finishing his junior year. He will leave June 2 to complete his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., After high school, Carnley will be part of an ROTC program in college.

Among those gathered for the ceremony were
Carnley’s parents, Jesse Carnley and Jennifer Carnley; his grandparents, Mark and Teresa Sutton and Victor and Kathy Carnley; and his great-grandparents, Lauradell Barrow and James and Carolyn Coulter.

Mark Sutton did more than watch; he swore in his grandson, who was six months younger than when Sutton enlisted, also as a high school junior, in the 151st infantry of the Army National Guard. Sutton, of Elizabeth, has spent the past 43 years in the service.

“Since he was 4 he’s been an Army man,” Sutton said of his grandson. “He’s a well-mannered young man. He always tries hard. … I see leadership qualities in him.”

Carnley said it meant a lot that his grandfather was able to administer the oath to him.

“He’s always been supportive of me,” he said.

Bridgwater joked that he told Carnley he needs to be preparing for physical training as he won’t be playing video games at basic training.

“I’m proud of him,” he added. “I have no doubt he’ll be successful.”

Anyone wanting more information about enlisting can call or text Bridgwater at 812-801-6168.