Larry Pelaez, of Bridge City, wants to join the Army to serve his country and part of that process is getting physically fit through physical training.

“I’m in better shape. I’ve notice a difference. I’ve lost 15 pounds since I’ve started,” he said.

Paleaz is currently a Bridge City volunteer firefighter. He likes to help people and the adrenaline rush fighting fires offer. He hopes to become a firefighter in the Army Reserve.

Paleaz and his fellow future soldiers meet every Thursday afternoon at the Army recruiting station in Orange to exercise and run. The Marine recruits next door, likewise, meet at the same time for PT to be ready for the rigors of boot camp.

“We’ve always had it (PT). It gets soldiers ready for basic training. It involves running, push-ups and sit-ups. They love it. I run with them and carry the flag. The people in their cars love it, too,” recruiter Sgt. Jonathan Dickey said.DSC_0296

PFC Lakendrick Sonnier of Orange has been in the Army Reserve for eight months and serves as a logistical supplies specialist. He led PT last Thursday.

“I love it (the Army Reserve). PT is the only way to find strength by overcoming weakness. It’s the first step in working as a team for these future soldiers,” Sonnier said.

Marine recruiter Staff Sergeant Pedro Nieto said PT is rigorous training in preparation for boot camp.

“They learn and understand the verbiage. Each individual learns self-confidence for boot camp through physical training and cardio with running,” Nieto said.

PT also helps with a physical fitness test that consists of Marine recruits doing the maximum number of pull-ups, stomach crunches and a one-and-a-half mile run they can muster to pass.

In addition to physical benefits, PT also helps the future Marines mentally and emotionally.

“They make other friends, build camaraderie- some go through boot camp together- and team building efforts,” Nieto said. “The Marine Corps is looking for the most qualified individuals who want to enlist and move on in their careers. We have a higher standard; we want the smartest and the brightest and we want them to succeed.”

Fred Bunner of Pinehurst will join the Army as an infantryman and Ranger school. He said he personally gets much benefit from PT.

“I like the feeling afterward. It’s the worst and the best feeling. It will definitely help me with basic training,” he said.