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Clarkston grad graduates from Marine Boot Camp

June 01, 2011 - U.S. Marine Pvt. Nickolas Johnson celebrated his graduation from Boot Camp last month with a sizable contingent of family from Clarkston.

Assigned to Marine Echo Company Second Recruit Training Battalion Platoon 2034 at Parris Island, Johnson graduated May 6. His father Brent Johnson, grandparents Douglas and Brenda Alexander and Ed and Gloria Johnson, his mother Pamela Renusch and her husband Tom Renusch, his sister, Samantha Johnson, and brother Tyler Renusch attended.

Nickolas is the Alexanders' third grandson in the military, joining U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Alexander Navarre and Airman First Class Michael Navarre.

"I'm just as proud of Nick as I am of the other two they chose to serve their country," Brenda said. "The minute I laid my eyes on him, he was standing up straighter, opening doors he showed lot of maturity."

After graduation, Nickolas was granted a 10-day leave and came home to Clarkston. On May 16, he left for Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for 29 days of Marine Combat Training. Upon completion, he will be stationed to Pensacola Naval Air Base for one year for Technical School, studying Aviation Mechanics.

Alexander Navarre is stationed at McCloud Air Force base in Tacoma, Wash. Serving his apprenticeship on the flight line, he is hoping to be deployed overseas.

Michael Navarre completed technical school at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. He graduated as the Top Honor Student in intel analyst school.

After coming home for leave, he will be assigned to Beale Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. After serving six months active duty, he will be eligible to apply and enter Officer Candidate School.

Lance Corporal Brent Cox, also a Clarkston High School graduate and Nickolas's sister Samantha's boyfriend, enlisted in the Marines in April 2008 and is stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Calif.

He is up for promotion to corporal, and is scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in November.

While he is deployed, his duties will include convoys looking for the Taliban, training Afghan soldiers on weapons, and driving Humvees, MATV, and LATV. He will be with the First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

"If you have the opportunity to meet a military person, please take a few minutes and thank them for serving our country," Brenda said. "This is dedicated to our military who are protecting you, your family and our beloved country the United States of America and also those who have given their lives in the service of their country. Our heartfelt gratitude to those brave men and women."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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