Spc. Lorie Simmons' eyes beamed with pride as she stood in formation ready to march across Hilton Field last week. The 32-year-old graphic designer from Boise, Idaho, embarked on a mission nine weeks earlier to transform from civilian to a Soldier. In the coming hour, Simmons would officially take that final step, graduating from Basic Combat Training, and joining the ranks of American Soldiers. "The first three weeks of basic training were tough physically, but after that it was pretty easy," said Simmons, who is headed to Officer Candidate School. "I am full of so much pride right now. I didn't know if I could make it, but I proved that I could." Simmons was one of 140 BCT Soldiers assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment who graduated Dec. 14 and made the transformation from civilian to Soldier. The final stretch in making that change began at the end of their seven-day field training exercise known as Victory Forge. During their final night in the field, the Soldiers took part in a Rites of Passage ceremony, which included drinking grog - a mixture of hot sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, marshmallows, fruit punch, brown sugar, noodles and "diesel fuel." Of course, there was no diesel fuel in the mixture, however, the Soldiers were made to believe there was. "I told my buddy not to worry. There was no way they would make us drink diesel fuel. The entire company would have been sick for days," said Pfc. Chris Bull, 20, of Fort Collins, Colo. Following the ceremony, Soldiers with Co. C, 2nd Bn., 13th Inf. Reg. spent the next week preparing for graduation, out-processing, receiving briefings and of course continuing their physical training. The day before graduation, Soldiers were given a chance to reunite with their loved ones during Family Day and the opportunity for an on-post pass for the rest of the day. "After seeing my husband and two children I am so ready to go home for Christmas," Pvt. Monique Remigio said. "I am excited and happy to be graduating, but I want to be with my family. They are the reason I joined the Army and they are why I was able to make it through." Chris.Rasmussen@jackson.army.mil