LOGAN — Turkeys were the only thing on many minds during the week of Thanksgiving, but for a few, the idea of defending our country was their only thought.

Two former Hocking County residents decided to expand their horizons out of the area with bigger goals in mind — joining the Marine Corps. After graduating from Logan High School last spring, Tanner Conley and Tri-County graduate Garrett Baker enlisted in the Marine Corps.

According to Hocking County Marine recruiter Sergeant Scott Lipke, the two young men enlisted in the military straight out of high school and were anxiously awaiting to go to boot camp.

After going through boot camp training, Conley and Baker graduated from military school the day before Thanksgiving.

According to Lipke, they began Marine Corps Boot Camp 13 weeks prior — in August, and graduated from boot camp on Nov. 21.

“This training environment has proven to be effective for generations of Marines,” Lipke told The Logan Daily News.

“Marines who are shaped by their experiences and rigorous training are instilled with the traits to make them better citizens and prepared for the challenges of military life,” he added.

With the variety of activities the recruits endure in boot camp training, Lipke said it makes a difference in their lives.

“Recruit training is inherently stressful for the young men and women who come to Parris Island,” Lipke remarked. “They face a demanding change in lifestyle and assimilation to a military routine.”

Baker graduated with Platoon 3093, India Company, and third Recruit Training Battalion.

Conley graduated with Platoon 3094, India Company, and third Recruit Training Battalion.

According to Lipke, to earn the coveted title of Marine, Baker and Conley have embraced the Marine Corps’ core values and legacy and is the epitome of personal character, selflessness and military virtue.

“They have a mastery of the areas of discipline, character development and military bearing,” he stated. “Also the mastery of espirit de corps, Marine Corps common combat skills and combat conditioning.”

The two had to pass various qualifications varying from combat skills to survival skills and multiple tests. According to Lipke, Baker and Conley passed — including water survival, Marine Corps marksmanship, and Marine Corps martial arts.

“They also passed academics, uniform inspections and physical and combat fitness tests to graduate recruit training.”

After graduating from boot camp, Baker and Conley have two more stages to go through in their training. The two are currently in their second stage of Marine Corps Combat Training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Lipke noted that they will learn basic tactics, formations and movements in this stage.

“This training just basically gets you into the more tactical mindset of the military,” he added.

After completing combat training, Baker and Conley will move to the third and final part of training, the job training.

In job training, Lipke explained that they will be learning about the job they are actually going to be doing in the Marine Corps.

Lipke said Baker will be training for infantry, while Conley will be training for engineering.

“They will finish their second stage and continue their dedicated services to our nation in the Marine Corps,” he concluded.

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