Senior Alex Hardy makes SLHS proud at Boot Camp


Courtesy Photo

Alex Hardy stands with his forever best friend Grant Bebow after Hardy graduated from boot camp.

Autumn Mann, Editor

Saint Louis High School senior Alex Hardy was a way all summer living the full National Guard boot camp experience. Just like Nate March who had graduated in the class of 2022, Hardy chose to get a head start on his career defending the nation. 

Hardy left a few days after his junior year and didn’t return home until Aug. 25. He was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in St. Louis, Missouri. Hardy believes that every single day was a sight to see with the pretty view. Hardy expressed that the humidity was almost 100 percent every single day and even without the humidity, it was still extremely hot. 

When it came to a normal day for Hardy, it consisted of getting up around 4 or 5 a.m., working out for a little bit in the morning, eating breakfast, learning new things, and then lunch. After lunch, he expressed that sometimes they got yelled at for no reason, dinner, and personal time after that. After a long and tiring day, lights were out around 9 to 9:30 p.m. 

Hardy was limited on phone calls and the internet, so he soon learned what it meant to write letters back and forth as the main communication with friends and family. Natalie Lemert, Hardy’s girlfriend, expressed, “It was every Sunday that we got a 10-minute phone. We had to write real letters back and forth. It was really hard for us to communicate.” 

Hardy said, “The main thing I missed while I was gone from home was being treated like an actual person.” The boys at boot camp were treated as trainees and not as if they were actual people. Hardy added, “It got better as we went along, but it still wasn’t very good. I missed that while I was gone because it’s things like that you take for granted”

Hardy plans to further his army career after he graduates. He wants to go to Advanced Individualized Training and then he will go to college. After college, he will become a warrant officer and try to get a flying job military job. 

One of the best things to come out of boot camp for Hardy was the money but also the understanding about being early and on-time for things. Hardy recalled, “Before I left, I was almost late to everything or was very close. But being late at basic training is a very, very bad thing, so I had to really get used to getting ready earlier and being on time” 

Yet, the hardest part of boot camp for him was leaving wonderful people and experiences that he had grown so accustomed to. Hardy was close with all 59 people there, and he knew everything about almost every one of them. He stated, “Being with those people for two and a half months really brought me close with them, and almost saw them as a family for that short period of time.” Seeing them go, made Hardy realize he may never see any of those people again which was really hard for Hardy due to the relationships he built. 

One of the main things Hardy will take away from going into boot camp is that people don’t always think the same as you. Many people are from different parts of the world and have been through more than you think. Hardy expressed, “There was a person that almost everyone hated for a really long time because he was self-centered, but we didn’t realize what he had gone through to get to this place and position in his life.” There is a lot of diversity in boot camp. Therefore, when it came to working together, it wasn’t always the easiest thing. “Working together with those people was a little hard at first because everyone was on different paths and just wanting to get through by themselves, but sometimes you can’t do that.” Hardy learned to not judge books by their covers and great leadership skills. Overall, Boot camp taught Hardy to be a better person. It taught him leadership, how to manage time, how to self-discipline, and how to be kind to others. 

Hardy may have gone through some things many people can’t relate to, but he came out stronger mentally and physically. He learned, grew, and most importantly doesn’t regret it. Boot camp was something Hardy will remember for many years to come, and he will forever be thankful for the people he met and the people who supported him through his journey.