As Alfonsi tours, she finds that dawn breaks with croaking drill instructors.
First stop: the dreaded obstacle course. It's supposed to build strength, but it also tests character — often in inches and agony. It's where Alfonsi meets Michael Laurello, a scrappy 19 year old who enlisted right out of high school.
"My mother actually cried," Laurello says of when he enlisted. "It was like a funeral at my going away party."
Some wonder why anyone would voluntarily enlist during wartime.
"I want to be fighting the evils, what they did to us on Septmeber 11th," Laurello says.
All three of the recruits Alfonsi sit down with say they enlisted because of Sept. 11. Politicians will argue whether the war and 9-11 are related — but clearly here, to these recruits — the two are inseparable.
Alfonsi asks the recruits if the rest of America is touched by the war.
"The young kids, some of them, they don't understand," answers Shauna Paddie, a Marine recruit. "They are not touched by it."
Michael Laurello thinks the rest of America has actually forgotten about what happened on Sept. 11.
"I don't think America wants us over there fighting the war," he says. "They say it's not our war, but to me, we're helping other people."
Trenton Roberts, another recruit, agrees.
"We're very helpful," Roberts says. "When we see a need to help somebody, we're going to do so because we're the big brothers to other countries."
But all three get the feeling that people just do not care about the war. Despite that, Michael Laurello and a new class of recruits are going through hell and likely headed to war, by choice.
"In my heart, this is what I want to do, and there's nothing that's going to change that," he says. "There's nothing that can change that."