LODI, Wis. - The Marine Corps’ 244th birthday Sunday wasn’t the only reason for celebration at KD’s Bar.
“I am very proud,” Vikki Ness said. “Very emotional. He went from being a boy to a man.”
Ness's 18-year-old son, Trenton, is a recent graduate of the 13-week Marine Corps boot camp.
"It was very intense,” Vikki Ness said. “As a parent, you cannot talk to him for three months. Every day, I was running to the mailbox to see any letters."
“You’re homesick most of the time, especially the first few weeks,” Trenton Ness said.
It's not just his story that was worthy of celebration. His best friend from high school, Nathan Beechey, went through it all with him in San Diego.
"Not even freshman year or sophomore year of high school would I have thought in two years, I'm going to be a Marine with my best friend,” Ness said.
"That doesn't happen every day,” his mother said.
From gas chamber exposure to a grueling 20-mile hike, the two made it through boot camp to graduate together for the second time, including high school.
"You can't fully prepare for it,” Trenton Ness said. "It's called the few and proud for a reason."
“It seems like you'll never get done. Then, before you know it, you earn the title and all the hard work came together,” Beechey said.
As for what drew the friends to join the Marines:
"The challenge, definitely,” Trenton Ness said. “The uniforms look nice.”
More than that, though, Ness said it was “carrying on the best legacy possible,” which is something top of mind on the Marine Corps’ birthday and as Veterans Day approaches.
"It's crazy how it all came together like this,” Beechey said. “It's a perfect ending to the story."
The two new Marines got to be home for about a week before they leave Tuesday for San Diego to begin courses at the School of Infantry.
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