Coal City family celebrates son's graduation from Marine boot ca - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Coal City family celebrates son's graduation from Marine boot camp

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59 News has been covering the Marine's educator's workshop a chance for educators from all over West Virginia to learn more about recruit training. More than 400 miles away from home, one young man from Coal City just completed training and has now become a Marine. This is his story.

"All you've worked for, for the passed 3 months, it is just paying off," Pvt. Nick Barker said just one day before the Marine's graduation.

Nick Barker graduated from Liberty High School and was attending Bluefield State College when he decided to enlist in the Marines.

Three months ago Private Nick Barker arrived at Parris Island from Coal City and stepped foot onto the yellow footprints. He was greeted by an in-your-face drill instructor, yelling and screaming.   Barker could not believe what he signed up for.

"What went through my mind is, I can't believe I got myself into this, I did this to myself and now I am going to be miserable," Pvt. Barker said.

Thirteen weeks of sweat, physical labor and intense training, pushing recruits body to the brink both mentally and physically, Pvt. Barker was ready for the final test of his strength.

The Crucible is a 54-hour rigorous field training exercise that tests everything the young recruits have learned in the passed 13 weeks. Sleep is limited and food is rationed, as the recruits try and make their way to the finish line.  They are literally running an empty and expected to make split second decisions.

"I can honestly say without a doubt that is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life," Pvt. Barker said. "But that Eagle, Globe and Anchor was definitely worth everything."

Barker recalls several times wanting to give up on himself during the Crucible but his fellow recruits pushed him till the end.

Recruit Barker official became a Marine after finishing the Crucible. His family drove all the way from Coal City to see his graduation on May 3, 2013.  Not a single eye was dry up in the stands as parents watched their new Marines.

"This is the proudest any man can be," David Barker, Nick's father said.

Driving more than 8 hours from the mountains of West Virginia to the sands of Parris Island, the Barker family said the highlight was seeing Private Barker march across the parade deck each movement crisp, each boot striking in unison.

Out of the sea of graduating Marines, all dressed alike; David Barker said he had no problem picking out his son. He said it was the 5 o'clock shadow, a dead given away--- here comes Private Barker.