After graduation from Central Cabarrus High School, three long-time friends take different, but very similar paths

By Jonathan E. Coleman
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Childhood friends Bubba Plott, Brad Mizell and Luke Roberts have always shared a brotherly bond.

Like any group of young boys, they’ve also shared in moments of trouble. In eighth grade the three were in the same class when they started shooting rubber bands at each other. When an errant shot hit the teacher, all three were sent to detention.

“We’d never gotten in trouble before this, or after this,” Mizell said. 

While they were in detention, their baseball coach took the boys out into the hall and scolded them as, much to their embarrassment, many of their peers looked on.

“It was a classic Brad, Luke and Bubba moment,” Mizell said with a smile. “It’s probably why we didn’t get into any more trouble.”

It’s also the kind of moment that defines friendships that will last a lifetime, the boys admitted.

Throughout their senior year at Central Cabarrus High School, the three embarked on unique, but very similar paths, applying to some of the country’s most prestigious military institutions. While many of their friends will spend the summer following graduation vacationing and working part-time jobs, the three have been training for their next adventure, which will take them on separate, but very similar paths.

This week, Roberts reported to the United States Naval Academy. Next month, Mizell will start basic training at The United States Military Academy at West Point, and in August, Plott will begin his enrollment at The Citadel.

“I wanted a challenge,” Plott said of his reasons for choosing to attend The Citadel. “I wanted to go to a regular college and have fun, but I knew it wouldn’t compare to the challenge I’m going to get (at The Citadel).”

It’s also an opportunity to continue family traditions of military service and fulfill a dream to serve their country.

“I’ve always been a big supporter of our troops,” Mizell said. “I can’t see myself doing a regular job. I just want to lead our troops and I know West Point is going to give me the chance to be the best soldier I can be.”

To get a head start on being the best they can be, the three have spent what little summer they’ve had training together and preparing for military life. To prepare themselves physically for the rigors of boot camp, the boys have been running together regularly.

“I don’t know how to mentally prepare,” Plott said. “We hear so many stories. I’m just trying to prepare for the worst. They say you have to have a good sense of humor because it’s all a game. You just have to know how to play.”

While the three will be going their separate ways, their common experiences have only served to strengthen their bond.

“I think our friendships would be different if one of us were going to a different school, but we’re all pretty much experiencing the same things,” Roberts said.

The last few weeks before heading their separate ways have been emotional.

“It’s definitely sad, because I’m going to miss these guys,” Mizell said, “but it’s definitely exciting.”

At least initially, during their respective boot camps, the three will only have limited opportunities to share their experiences with each other, relying mostly on e-mail at letters.

Despite the limited communication, the three said it was nice to know they would continue to share similar experiences and that they would always have each other to lean on.

Whether playing an impromptu game of “basement baseball” at Plott’s parents’ home or offering advice about each other’s girlfriends, the three have always looked out for one another.

“We’re like brothers now,” Plott said.

• Contact Jonathan E. Coleman at [email protected] or 704-789-9105.

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