Step after methodical step, Justin Peter runs to the beat of his heart. He's one step and one breath closer to becoming a Marine.
But he's not the only one.
"Why'd I join? I wasn't doing anything with my life," said Justin Peter of Tell City, IN. "I got a call from my recruiter Sgt. Basham. He wanted to meet up so we met up and talked about it. I went with him and played basketball with some other poolees. I joined about two weeks later."
"When I was 15, my cousin was going to join the Marine Corps.," said Matthew Duckworth, a fellow Marine poolee from Henderson, KY. "I got interested in it. When he got back from boot camp, I decided this is what I wanted to do with him life."
Matthew Duckworth and Justin Peter are two young men from two different parts of the Tri-State. They have different lives with different paths. But they both share in the journey.
"I've always thought about it," said Peter. "I graduated from high school and knew college wasn't for me right away. I took a year off and worked. I took that call and here I am ready to leave in less than a week."
"I was always a big military buff," said Duckworth. "When [my cousin] got back i knew the Marines was what I wanted. In my personal opinion, they're the best. So I wanted to go with the best."
They both know where they're going. They even have an idea of what lies ahead of them: 13 weeks of basic training, 13-weeks of hell.
Before shipping out to Parris Island, South Carolina, preparation is paramount.
Every day is a test of the mind. Every second is test of their resolve.
"They'll break you down mentally," said Peter. "They'll break you down for a reason so you'll be able to handle it being there. "I'm ready to explore. I'm ready to do what I have to do to serve my country. It doesn't matter if I have to stand behind and cook or something. I'll still be a Marine."
"I'm getting used to people shouting in my face," said Duckworth. "I walked up to a friend and asked if he'd shout in my face to get me mentally prepared. I'm mentally calm about it. We'll see what happens when I get on the bus."
Becoming a marine was their decision and their decision alone. But the reality of that decision isn't. .
"My parents are supportive," said Duckworth. "Naturally, my mother wished I had taken a different career choice. They've always been there for me. Since I was always home-schooled, I didn't have friends in high school because it was always me, myself and I in the classroom. I'll probably miss them the most, their encouragement.
"I will be [nervous] when I wake up Sunday morning," said Peter. "It's slowly hitting me but when I say my goodbyes to my friends, family and close ones, it'll hit me."
October 9th, 2012, 1500 hours
Justin Peter and Matthew Duckworth run a road only the proud will ever know.
But they will never do it alone.
Peter says he wants to go into the legal field while Duckworth wants to go into reconnaissance.
Coming up Thursday on Eyewitness News at 10, we'll have part two of this special report. Our two young Marines say their final goodbyes before shipping off to basic training.