Last summer Nic Lunde, Jake Turner and Zach Long talked about their future. The three friends were headed into their senior year at Rosemount High School and each thought his future might be in the military.
Specifically, it was the Marine Corps that beckoned to them. Over the course of the year they each talked with a recruiter and each made the decision that the Marines were indeed their future.
While they each made the individual decision to join the Marines, the three Rosemount High School graduates got to go through boot camp together as part of a buddy system.
On Aug. 2 they kissed their moms goodbye and traveled to California to undergo the rigorous training the military requires of its newcomers.
"(Boot camp) was a lifetime experience, and it was definitely easier having them there," said Lunde.
Having never been away from home before, Turner said there were times he felt homesick. Having his two friends there helped him through the experience.
"When we started to miss home we could rely on each other," said Turner.
The three had done physical training with their recruiter, so they were ready for that part of the boot camp experience. Turner said getting screamed at though, took some getting used to.
The other element that took them by surprise was the California heat.
"I wasn't used to the heat. It definitely made me miss Minnesota," said Long.
With a little time off before they start occupational training, the three came home for a visit. All three said it's been weird.
"It was really weird going back to the high school. I feel like we've matured a lot," said Lunde.
When Lunde, 18, was younger he saw his uncle dressed in his Marine Corp uniform and knew that was what he wanted to do. His goal is to become a master sergeant, but he plans to take things one day at a time.
"You never know what can happen. A year from now I might hate it," said Lunde.
With boot camp completed Lunde will be trained as a motor transportation operator.
He will go back to Camp Pendleton for training Nov. 17
When trying to decide what he wanted to do Turner, 19, said he wanted to do something that mattered. He considered college but found himself more interested in the military. He talked with recruiters and felt like the Marines offered more of what he wanted than the other branches.
"I wanted to belong to something bigger, and they talked about the skills and training I would get instead of just about money," said Turner.
Turner has returned to Camp Pendleton to complete training to become a field radio operator.
Long, 18, has known since he was young that he wanted to be part of the Marine Corps.
"It's just what I always knew I wanted to do," said Long.
The former football and lacrosse player returned to Camp Pendleton to attend the School of Infantry. Long said he wanted infantry because that's what people think of when they think of the Marines.