Luis Enrique Pinto Jr. lost 113 pounds in seven months to meet height and weight standards of the Army’s Occupational Physical Assessment Test given to new Army recruits to join the U.S. military. He is headed to basic training next month, according to ArmyTimes.
Pinto, 18, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 317 pounds about a year ago and was attracted to the Army. Driven by his desire to serve, he decided to become the first in his family to join the U.S. military.
According to the Pentagon, more than 70% of America’s youth aren’t eligible to serve in the military, mostly for disqualification in height and weight requirements, KTNV-TV reported.
“I had struggled with weight my whole life. I’ve always been a big kid,” said Pinto.
After visiting a recruiter, Pinto was convinced that the Army would be his way out. Supported by his mom, Pinto went to work, eating healthy and working out every day.
“One thing she told me is to just show up. Just show up and don’t worry about the workout that’s to come. You show up at the gym and once you’re there, you’re already there so might as well just get it over with,” he said.
Pinto, who is 6 feet, 1 inch tall, lost 113 pounds in just seven months, not only impressing his family and friends, but his Army recruiter too.
“There were a couple times where he hit a plateau. He would lose a pound or two, maybe. But to continue to push forward and put the effort and dedication in, it inspires me and it should inspire you,” Pinto’s recruiter Staff Sgt. Philip Long said.
“To have that heart and that drive to keep pushing forward, it’s impressive. It got him to where he can enlist in the Army. That mentality is going to carry him through his career and through life and he’ll be extremely successful,” he added.
Pinto enlisted in the Army as a 14E who operates and maintains Patriot weapon systems—a position that was accompanied by a $16,000 bonus.
“Every event was like it was made for him; it was easy,” Long said in an Army news release.