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Barton works to serve his country

Pleasant Home High School senior Grant Barton graduated from basic training at Fort Benning on Friday morning and then made it back just in time to take team pictures for the Eagles’ football time that afternoon.

“I’ve always kind of wanted to do this my whole life,” Barton said when asked about his decision to join the National Guard. “I like serving and this is one of the best ways I see possible to serve.”

Barton choice to join the National Guard’s Split Training program that allows a 17-year-old to enlist while they are juniors in high school.

During the summer between their junior and senior years, the students attend Basic Combat Training.

“I decided to join the National Guard,” Barton said. “They have a STO 1(Split Training Option) program where you can break up you basics and your AIT (Advanced Individual Training) and your job training (MOS) over your senior year.”

While Barton finishes up his senior year, he will train one weekend a month with the local National Guard unit.

The summer following graduation, he will attend AIT and train for his Guard job (MOS).

“Next year, I will go back for about another 11 or 12 weeks and I will do my more in-depth training on being an infantrymen,” Barton said.

Not only will Barton be training one weekend a month with the National Guard, he will be working on graduating from high school and is also a key member of the Eagles’ varsity football team.

“I will be doing it all,” Barton said. “It’s all a challenge. Basic is one of the most challenging things they say you will ever do. It definitely was a huge challenge, but I loved every minute of it and I would do it again.”

Barton spent his entire summer in basic training and is now ready to help be a leader for the Eagles’ football team during his senior year.

“Well I haven’t been able to practice any this summer because I’ve been gone,” Barton said when asked about his thoughts on the upcoming football season. “I really can’t say much at the moment because I really haven’t seen anything. Over these next few weeks, it will give me a pretty good idea. I’m ready to see how my team is coming around.”

Pleasant Home begins the season on Aug. 23 when they take a trip to take on Elberta.