This is the moment Tevin White has been waiting for. Marching in front of his family - no longer a recruit - but an actual Marine.
The transformation happened at Parris Island, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot just outside Beaufort, South Carolina. It's responsible for training, molding, and making more than 20,000 Marines each year.
"While you're in it seems hard and long but at the end of the day it's all worth it,” said White.
For the first time in months, the 20-year-old from Orange County was able to hold his loved ones.
"I feel great, especially seeing my family again. I've been waiting so long for that,” said White.
It was a joyful moment for his family too.
"I'm very proud. It's been a long couple of weeks and - more than weeks, a couple of months - just waiting to get him back home and enjoy him for the 10 days that he's at home,” said White’s mother, Diashaunta Johnson.
But his journey wasn't an easy one. White knew it would be an uphill battle as the bus wheels slowed approaching Parris Island.
"The closer you get, the more quiet it starts to get," White said. "You get here, it's dark, you can't really see much and you get to the gates and the officers have weapons on them and they're not there to be your friends."
While White has completed his training, others like recruit Nicholas Denby from Palmyra in Fluvanna County have just started. For Denby, it's a challenge that has been a lifelong dream.
"I've always wanted to be a Marine since I was little and I finally got the opportunity once I graduated high school,” said Denby.
But just weeks in, Denby says he is a different person since stepping foot on the depot.
"I can slowly see myself becoming more disciplined and more understanding to the whole system and why everything is how it is here,” said Denby.
Being away from his family has been difficult.
"I miss them but it will be 10 times better to see them once I'm a Marine and graduated,” said Denby.
But for these new servicemen - no matter how tough it gets - quitting is never an option.
"It's hard. Sometimes you want to give up," White said, "but if you look to the left and right and see your brothers and your sisters doing the same thing you shouldn't give up on them because they're not giving up on you."
Central Virginians Train to Become Marines at Parris Island: Part 2More>>