A 55-year-old father of two graduated Thursday from combat basic training, becoming one of the oldest men ever to complete the program that involves 5-mile runs mixed with daily doses of push-ups and sit-ups.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Sgt. 1st Class John Taffe, who lives in Alameda, Calif., successfully completed the 2 1/2-month training at Fort Leonard in Wood, Mo. Taffe returns home next week where he plans to join the Army Reserve while keeping his Coast Guard job, where he works as a security specialist, the report said. He will be 23 pounds lighter, in part, because he was forced to give up beer and coffee.

"When I left for Missouri, my 15-year-old son said, 'Dad, I hope the Army knocks you off your high horse.' Now I can tell him, 'Nope. It just made me stronger,'" he told the paper.

Taffe said he hopes the additional money he makes working in the reserve will help pay for his kids’ college. He had worked in the Navy for 14 years and working six years in the Reserve will increase his benefits. He also said the Sept. 11 attacks inspired him to join the reserves.

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