Story last updated at 4:29 p.m. Thursday, June 20, 2002

Youth graduates, weds, enlists
Most of us like to enjoy the big events in our lives, like graduation, marriage and major career moves, but not William Eriksen.

The 18-year-old Juneau graduate tossed his cap on Saturday, married his high school sweetheart on Sunday and left for boot camp with the army on Monday.

"When I first told (my family) I was joining, I was thinking about leaving in the fall time, August or September," he said. "They were preparing for that and all of a sudden I was leaving in June."

William said he was attracted to the Army after hearing about the opportunities and scholarship money available. He has been recommended for a position as a medical specialist.

Lacy Eriksen, 19, who also graduated and married in one weekend, said she supports her husband's decision to enlist. The two have dated through high school, and had planned to marry in June 2003, but took the advice of a recruiter to marry earlier because of health benefits.

After a one-night honeymoon, the couple will spend at least their first nine weeks of marriage apart.

"We keep telling each other this is the hardest test of our relationship yet," Lacy Eriksen said.

<> Juneau Empire