As the final bell of the school rings, many students run to their cars or buses to start summer. Except for three students, who packed their bags and said their goodbyes before they left for basic training.

Three seniors from Lebanon High School left to begin their journey of service. Jacob Marsh, Taylor Wagoner and Tyler Williams left for basic training either before or after school let out in May.

For Taylor Wagoner, her grandpa was her inspiration for joining the Army National Guard. Wagoner spent ten weeks away in Fort Leonardwood, Missouri.

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Wagoner at Basic Training in Missouri

“It was hard the first couple of weeks away from my family,” said Wagoner.

After graduation Wagoner will return for twenty years in service and hopes to become an Army officer.

Tyler Williams, also in the Army National Guard, left for Fort Benning, Georgia, after school let out. Williams has wanted to join the armed forces since he was a child.

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Williams and friend at the end of basic training

“I was inspired as a kid watching all the war movies like Full Metal Jacket and American Sniper. I really wanted to work with the K9 units and searching buildings, but I chose the next best thing which was the infantry,’ said Williams.

Being away from friends was the hardest part for Williams and adjusting to the new people he met at  basic.

Next summer Williams will go back to Advanced Individual Training. There he will learn the ins and outs of his chosen field.

“I will go to AIT next summer and from there I will go to my unit. In the mean time I stick to going to RSP [Recruit Sustainment Program] one weekend a month,” said Williams.

Like Williams, Jacob Marsh also spent his summer at Fort Benning, Georgia. Marsh is in the Army National Guard as well.

Marsh’s inspiration for joining was his grandfather and other family members who have served.

“I have wanted [join] to since I was a little kid, it just sounded cool. My grandpa did, and I have a lot of family that did.”

Marsh spent ten weeks away from his friends and family. Marsh began to adjust to being away after the first few weeks at basic.

“After the first couple of weeks you forget, you just do not think about it,” said Marsh.

While at basic Marsh did a lot physical work, but he also learned the various kinds of the weapons he may use and how to handle them.

“[I did] a lot of push ups, a lot of crawling through mud, a lot of not sleeping, a lot of carrying your stuff downstairs and not going to sleep until you bring it back up and it is organized. Shooting different types of guns. I shot a couple different types of machine guns, shot my M4 all the time and shot a grenade launcher,” said Marsh.

When Marsh finishes up school this year, he will go back for a combined training called One Station Unit Training (OSIT).

“I am supposed to go through something called OSIT, which is a combined basic and AIT. Like your infantry men, your MP’s. My basic training was different because it was more infantry oriented, so that is part of the reason why it was harder. I have to go back and finish the rest of my OSIT after I graduate,” said Marsh.

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Marsh reuniting with girlfriend senior Kennedy Gibbons

As many students at Lebanon High School start to settle back into the routine of things, these three seniors will be settling into their future