Dylan Grubeck dropped out of Modesto Junior College last August.
The former Ceres High School athlete started working at a car dealership soon after.
A visit to a military recruiting office in Modesto changed Grubeck’s life.
“I had no direction,” said Grubeck, who enlisted in the United States Army in November. “I didn’t know what career path I was going to take. I decided one day to talk to a recruiter to see what it was all about. I wanted to challenge myself. When I signed up, my parents were shocked.”
Grubeck, 19, graduated last Friday from the U.S. Army’s Infantry One Station Unit Training class at Fort Benning, Ga.
“We had a graduation online,” said Grubeck, who is a member of the Alpha Company, 2-54 Infantry Battalion, 198th Infantry Brigade. “It was a viewing on Facebook Live. Most of my family watched it. They’re proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. This sets me up for a bright future. I’m much more responsible and mature now. I’m very excited. I’m getting to travel the world. I’m going to meet so many new people.”
Grubeck survived 22 weeks of intense training.
“You start from the bottom of the barrel,” Grubeck said. “You have to get used to following whoever is in charge—the higher ranks. We had 22 quitters. I never thought about quitting the entire time. I had a lot of support from home. I was always receiving letters from family and friends. That made the process easier.”
Grubeck had no trouble passing the Army’s Physical Fitness Test.
He did 48 pushups in two minutes.
He did 69 situps in two minutes.
He finished a 2-mile run in 13 minutes, 54 seconds.
Grubeck topped his previous-best marks.
“It was a huge improvement,” he said.
Grubeck and members of Alpha Company, 2-54 Infantry Battalion were required to complete a 16-mile ruck march wearing 65-pound backpacks.
“It was very hot,” he said. “The humidity was horrible. When it’s 90 degrees here, it feels like 120.”
Grubeck will be stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington for the next three years.
“I’ll be training every day but I’ll have more privileges,” he said. “My goal is to work my way up the ranks. I want to continue to push myself. You can’t mess around. At any time, you can get deployed. That’s a serious thing.”
“In three years, I’ll be 22,” Grubeck added. “I can still do a lot in my life. I’ll keep my options open. I could go back to school. If I choose this as a career, I’d be happy.”
Grubeck graduated from Ceres High School in 2019.
He played golf and football during his senior year.
Grubeck was a starter on Ceres High’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV championship boys golf team.
The Bulldogs made history by claiming their first section title.
Ceres High also advanced to the Masters Tournament.
Grubeck’s final season of football was cut short by injury on Senior Night.
The defensive back/receiver missed the Bulldogs’ final two games.