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Military careers await two Federal Way grads

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

It’s a sense of duty, family pride, an unwillingness to wait and pragmatism that has Brandon Lake and Tim Edwards wearing military uniforms by the end of this summer.

Lake is going Army.

Edwards is going Marine Corps.

They graduate from Federal Way High School on Monday.

Both said they aren’t nervous about boot camp and — for right now — the possibility of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.

“Once I get a few shots going by my head, it might change,” Lake said with a grin and bright blue eyes.

He hopes to join the 82nd Airborne after making it through boot camp, which starts in August at Fort Benning in Georgia.

Edwards leaves in July for boot camp — or Marine Corps Recruit Depot as the Corps calls it — at a San Diego facility.

Edwards and Lake aren’t worried about the physical toll boot camp takes on recruits. Edwards said he has been working out.

What seems more daunting to them is getting accustomed to a new routine and not having contact, initially, with the outside world.

After basic training, Edwards will go to specialty classes in automobile mechanics, which will be his job.

“I eat, sleep and drink cars,” Edwards said at Federal Way High School recently.

With a ‘C’ average and not knowing what he would study in college, Edwards decided serving in the military was the best option. He would rather do that than go to college without a plan.

He also needs the discipline, Edwards said with a confident voice.

“I’m happy I’m doing something with my life,” he said.

Later, if he decides to get a degree, the military will pay for it. He currently is taking classes at Pierce Community College.

Lake decided on the military early on, but was motivated after Sept. 11, 2001, to join.

The country needs us, he said.

Both men’s families have a military history. Lake’s father was in the Army and his grandfather was an Airborne.

Most of Edwards’ family has served in the Navy. His grandfather joined the Marines the day after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

Their families support their decisions, and both Lake and Edwards said their friends are generally supportive. A few are worried about them going into combat.

Lake’s long-term plans are to stay in the Army for 20 years (when retirement eligibility begins) and parlay his work experience into a second career in law enforcement, maybe as a SWAT member.

Edwards would like to stay in the Marine Corps as long as the Corps will have him. He’s still debating whether to try and become an officer.

“I’m excited to start,” he said.

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