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Recent Bethlehem Academy graduates Jack Clark, left, and Luke Wobschall both decided to join the Marines after high school. They leave Monday for boot camp in San Diego, California. (Misty Schwab/Faribault Daily News)

Luke Wobschall, Jack Clark and Roberto Escamilla all like a challenge.

It’s what drove each of these recent Faribault graduates to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

Wobschall and Clark, both 2019 Bethlehem Academy graduates, leave for boot camp in San Diego, California Monday while Falcons grad, Escamilla, leaves later this year. Wobschall and Clark’s basic training lasts for three months before they part ways.

Wobschall said he was interested in joining the Marines since he was about 12 years old, but became more serious about making the commitment his junior year at BA. Gunnery Sgt. Emily Levy, a recruiter for the US Marines, helped Wobschall seal the deal when she visited his place of work, Farm and Home Supply. Although his grandpa and two cousins were in different branches of the military, Wobschall said he’ll be the first Marine in his family.

Clark said his great-grandfather was a US Marine, and his grandpa was in another branch of the military. Clark himself never considered the Marines until he and Wobschall, plus another friend, began meeting for training at the Owatonna recruitment center every Thursday.

“When I first started, I wasn’t even thinking about joining [the Marines],” said Clark. “Then I talked to a recruiter. It sounded like it was a good thing, and I decided to do it.”

Clark admires Marines for their strong morals and leadership, and their ability to handle “anything life throws at them.”

Wobschall researched other branches of the military but said, “I was always dead set on the Marines.” The level of difficulty and pride that comes with being in the Marines appealed to him the most.

“At boot camp in the other branches you can have your phone, but the only thing you can bring to boot camp [for the Marines] is a Bible, and that’s pretty much it,” said Wobschall.

Communicating with family and friends by writing letters is a challenge both Wobschall and Clark are willing to accept. After boot camp ends, they’ll have permission to use their cell phones to place calls on weekends.

“It’s going to be tough basically being cut off from society for that long, but I think I’ll be fine with it,” said Clark.

After boot camp ends, the two grads return home for a brief time before the Marines take them on separate journeys. Wobschall leaves for infantry training in Thailand, and Clark joins the US Marine Corps Military Occupational Specialty crash fire rescue school in Texas.

“The entire Bethlehem Academy family is so proud of Luke and Jack,” said Chuck Briscoe, Bethlehem Academy’s president and principal. “With their excellent work ethic, I know they will serve our country and our community with honor in the Marines. I am glad we crossed paths at BA and wish them the best of luck as they head off to boot camp.”

Escamilla, a recent graduate of Faribault High School, also heads to boot camp in San Diego, California this year. His training starts in September.

The first in his family to join the Marines, Escamilla said the idea crossed his mind a number of years ago. He looked into other branches of the military, but the Marines seemed to suit him best. It was mostly stories and other articles he read online that captured his interest.

“Just about everything I heard, it seemed as though it was something I wanted to do,” said Escamilla.

After spending three months in San Diego, Escamilla goes to combat training, likely in New York.

“It’s not guaranteed, but I’m going into an intelligence specialist,” said Escamilla. “From what I know, I believe once I graduate I’d be going into linguistics from there.”

While Escamilla said he’ll miss his family, they were supportive of his decision to join the Marines.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

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