Challenge Accepted: Arkansas educators follow Marine recruits through boot camp

Recruits say boot camp can be the most challenging weeks of a person's life, but it's brought them more courage. (KATV Photo)

Arkansas educators are in San Diego - but not for vacation. As back-to-school season starts for students, some are already exploring after-graduation options.

Educators are joining them, learning about the military option available for students by following recruits through the boot camp process.

The educators are finding out just how intense basic training is and were put in the middle of the action Tuesday.

Tuesday, they were put on buses and then put through the paces of a recruit. Later, they caught up actual recruits in the middle of phase three.

Recruits say boot camp can be the most challenging weeks of a person's life, but for Kobie Litaker, from Midland High School, the transformation's made everything worth it: "This recruit has more courage. The ability to speak up when he needs to, and do something that needs to be done."

Just like Arkansas educators who got a taste of basic training, David Layne, from North Little Rock High School, says arriving on base at "Yellow Footprints" was like arriving at another world: "It was real exciting. It felt good, but then getting on the bus, then they step up and sat, 'Get of my bus right now!' It was a... I took me back. It all changed right there."

He wanted to join the Marines because of his family legacy, "It's always been Army and Navy, but this recruit wanted to step it up and be the military elite."

And he's not the only one... Grayson Hulsui, from Lake Hamilton High School, also grew up in a home of veterans, and says, he always wanted to serve: "This recruit grew up more patriotic I guess you could say."

In the next few week,s these three will have their final physical and mental tests. Some are nervous about "The Crucible" - an intense 54--hour hike that pushes recruits to their limits. Others however, are worried about exams in the classroom.

Hulsui says, "This recruit's more nervous for the T-55 ma'am... A written and oral evaluation of knowledge about the Marine Corps."

But once they're done, they'll get to graduate in front of their friends and family - taking on the title of Marine.

"It's a huge step," explains Litaker. "This recruit feels it will be the most happiest moment of his life," adds Hulsui. "Hopefully here in two or three weeks, I'll stand tall, look good," says Layne.

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