FORT SILL, Okla., Sept. 3, 2020 -- 17-year-old Pvt. Daniel Weaver graduated from basic combat training with E Battery, 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery Aug. 28, and earned distinguished honor graduate.Quite a summer for the Army National Guard split option program Soldier who will return to high school in Williamsburg, Virginia.Ordinarily that would be an impressive start to anyone’s military career, but Daniel is the second member of his family to come to Fort Sill.His arrival in a way honored the memory of the first, 1st Lt. Todd Weaver, his uncle and a 13J fire control specialist.Daniel said his uncle joined the military about the same age as he did and served about five years before he was killed in combat. In a news release sent out by the Fort Campbell, Kentucky, public affairs office, Lt. Weaver died of wounds he suffered from an improvised explosive device Sept. 9, 2010, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.“(His death) struck our family really hard,” said Daniel. He said his grandfather worked really hard to establish a memorial for Todd and set up foundations in his honor.Daniel Weaver was just a boy when his uncle died, but he grew up learning about him and his service to his country. Daniel added he and other members of his family play baseball, and all wear No. 10, the same number his uncle wore.Now in a new uniform, Daniel is carrying on his uncle’s legacy.“It’s a big deal for me too, to follow in his footsteps,” said Daniel.Daniel’s grandfather had challenge coins created in his son’s honor. Before the battalion graduated, its Soldiers were formed up for a coin presentation ceremony where Daniel gave coins to his three drill sergeants – Senior Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Jennifer Frieling, Drill Sergeant (Sgt. 1st Class) Jonathan Woods, and Drill Sergeant (Sgt.) David Blackmer.“Drill Sergeant Frieling taught me a lot of life lessons,” said Daniel.Blackmer said he was excited to receive the coin, especially after learning about Daniel’s uncle and the rest of the story behind the coin’s creation.“I always think I’m pretty hard on my trainees, but I do this so they become good Soldiers,” said Blackmer, a recent graduate of the Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. “I guess it’s good to see that even though I’m hard on trainees that they appreciate the fact that I try to make them the best.”An Army Reserve Soldier, Blackmer lives in Tacoma, Washington, where he works as a locomotive engineer for Amtrak now that his time steering Soldiers toward successful Army careers has ended.“I wanted to become a drill sergeant and help make basic trainees better Soldiers and to never settle for anything less than excellence. I think I cared more about producing a good Soldier and less about what trainees thought of me personally. As a drill sergeant I just wanted to make sure the training they got was top-notch,” he said.Blackmer said he immediately recognized qualities in Daniel and said to the other drill sergeants that he should be a platoon guide.Blackmer said Daniel focused on working hard to do the right thing and encouraging others around him to do the same.Daniel became platoon guide just as the battery entered its biggest events, such as The Forge, he added.Once he completes high school, Daniel will return to Fort Sill for advanced individual training, again following his uncle as a 13J. Afterward, he will go to college as an ROTC cadet, and then move on to active duty as a second lieutenant.