Over 300 soldiers graduate from basic training in combined ceremony at Fort Leonard Wood

Published: Jul. 25, 2019 at 4:51 PM CDT
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"PT wise it wasn't that bad, but psychologically, it was pretty challenging," said Pvt. Liam Crawford of basic training. Crawford is a Delta Company Graduate of the 2nd Battalion 10th Infantry Division.

He's one of over 300 men and women who graduated from three companies -- Alpha, Delta, and Echo -- on Thursday.

"We had to learn patience and respect, duty, selfless service, and all types of core values that are in the Army," said Pvt. Brandon Folke, Alpha Company Graduate.

These new soldiers didn't get to see their parents, brothers and sisters, or significant others while they were learning those core values and the basics of the United State Army.

Many, though were able to write home...like Pvt. Alec Norton of Tennessee.

He wrote to his girlfriend, Sarah.

Those letters, all part of a bigger plan.

"So I, at the beginning of each letter - there were four letters I remember the date on - I had to find them and I handed them to her. They had 'will you marry me' on them. They were out of order, but I figured she'd get it. It was my plan the whole time," Norton said.

Sarah, said yes, giving her new fiance and both of their families another reason to celebrate.

"I was nervous," Norton said. "It was bad, I'm not going to lie, I thought I was going to pass out there for a minute."

Parents of the new soldiers couldn't contain the pride for their children as they get ready for the next chapter in their Army career.

"This young man is an inspiration to me because he's come a long way and he's shown courage, teamwork, he's done great with his PT scores and everything," said David Crawford of his son. "I'm just so proud of him. It's kind of hard to put into words."

The soldiers who graduated Thursday were able to spend the rest of the day with their friends and families, before they move on to their advanced individual training.