Oak Creek Kane Johnson didn't consult many people before making his decision to enlist in the U.S. Army on April 13 - the day he turned 18.
"He didn't discuss it with us at all," said Candy Johnson, Kane's mother. "He came home and said, 'Mom, there's been a recruiter at school. I'm going into the military.'"
That was three months ago.
On Tuesday, Kane Johnson was milling around his Oak Creek home waiting to be picked up for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
"I'm not nervous right now," he said. "I'll get nervous just before. I'm sure it will hit me on the bus ride."
Johnson, who graduated from Soroco High School in May, said joining the U.S. Army would help him accomplish his lifelong dream of becoming a highway patrolman.
"I've always wanted to be a cop," he said. "This is my way of making that dream come true."
Johnson said he plans to work as military police while he is enlisted and then possibly obtain a degree in criminal justice.
Johnson is following in his father, Wayne, and both grandparents' footsteps by joining the armed services.
Growing up in Oak Creek has prepared him to succeed, especially since he played football under Coach Andy Reust's guidance, he said.
"I'm not really afraid of being yelled at. I can handle getting yelled at," he said, laughing. "Reust helped me prepare for that."
Johnson said he has received a lot of advice in the weeks leading up to Tuesday.
"I've heard that I can either stick out and take the leader role or be invisible," he said. "We'll see which one I am when I get there."
Candy Johnson said she will miss her son's wily sense of humor.
"He's a funny guy," she said. "I hope the Army doesn't take that out of him because he's always been the one to make you laugh."
Candy Johnson said she spent most of Monday night crying, but not because she was sad.
"I'm proud that he did it all on his own," she said.
The Johnsons' faith has kept them all going, she said.
"Kane's faith is pretty strong," she said. "The Lord will protect him, and if not, then the Lord will prepare us for that. We know he'll come home."
Johnson said he isn't "gung ho" about going overseas, but that he would if he was called to do so.
He hopes people send him letters while he's gone, especially since he won't be socializing very much.
"I'm definitely going to miss my community, all the people I've grown up with for 13 years," he said.