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Tucson Marine recruits prep for boot camp

Posted at 6:25 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 20:32:07-05

PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV)  - A proud military history of 241 years. Nearly 100 local marine recruits are getting ready to head off to boot camp. New enlistees from RSS Tucson spent last weekend in Phoenix where they got a taste of what they can expect when they join the corps.

300 men and women lined up, pulled up and ran off into one of the most difficult challenges of their lives. Mini Marine boot camp tested endurance, emotions and physical strength.

One of Tucson's newest members is 18-year-old Juan Streit.

"Ever since I was little, they always saw me in the camo hat, everything, I always wanted to be a marine," said Striet. "Nothing else."

He's set to graduate from Sahuarita High School this year.

"My entire family was Marines. My grandfather was a sergeant major, my mother was a gooney, my dad, he was a sergeant, and my uncle was a corporal. So, I figured shoot, what better way to carry on the legacy."

Enlistees in the camp were forced to do pull ups, sit ups and a 1.5 mile run. The training helps prepare them
for what they'll go through during a 13-week camp in San Diego and South Carolina.

"It really gets them like, wow, what did I get myself into?" said gunnery sergeant, Jim Quintero. "The brother hood starts here."

Another Tucson local had to overcome incredible obstacles to live out his dream.

"I lost about 60 pounds to be here," said Eric Frausto.

When he first tried to enroll they turned him down.

"I lost 30 pounds, I got to 220, and then I called up, they said I was still too heavy, so I lost 20 more pounds. I called again, they said okay, and then I was at 185, I'm at 180 right now."

The Marana High School student says his weight loss journey taught him discipline and dedication.

"I just put that goal in front of me to become a United States Marine, and nothing would stop me."

A recent graduate from the UA is setting her goal at becoming an officer.

"I've always had this spirit of freedom within me," said Sarah Coca. "My dad is a former Marine, and I decided, you know, I want to follow in the family footsteps. I pursued my bachelors degree first and decided, 'yes it is indeed something I want to pursue, the officer course."

Coca says the mini boot camp training pushes each recruit to live up to their potential.

"You're gonna always want to give 110 percent, you're going to always want to work as a team, and just don't give up. No matter if you're the slowest, or the fastest, the fastest is just as important as the slowest."

Most enlistees are set to head off to their real boot camp training over the next six months, entering the program as recruits and coming back as the few, the proud the Marines.