By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — You might have heard the Groundhog Day joke this week, where every day feels like a repeat of one before. Well, while eating popcorn and watching Netflix again later, remember the daily grind of the twins you’re about to meet.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory shares their pandemic-or-not uninterrupted quest to serve our country.

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“Once you get here, you’re in a bubble,” said Joel Leonard, a student naval aviator.

You might be missing summer barbecues or poolside cocktails, but Joel and his brother, Joshua, are craving Culver’s and Portillo’s.

The Libertyville natives and Illinois State University graduates are riding out the cold, cold weather across the country in Newport, Rhode Island. They’re student naval aviators ordered to remain on base at Officer Candidate School.

“When we were applying, COVID-19 was not a thing,” Joel said.

About a year after they signed up, the 24-year-old twins got their assignments. They said there was never any hesitation to go now because of the pandemic.

“No, not at all. Before we came here, we were aware of all the precautions being taken,” Joel said.

Precautions include a two-week mandatory “restriction of movement” period. The rest of us know it as quarantine.

“Beyond that, we take precautions to social distance and wear a mask when practical,” Joshua said.

Otherwise, the 13-week curriculum is the same; from learning leadership skills in class to putting out simulated ship fires.

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Training is still tough. Drills are still draining. Following a regimen is still required.

“PT, physical training, is always going to be happening five days a week. So, back home, gyms are closing. We’re still working out,” Joel said.

The transition to the Biden administration is another huge change to the outside world that on the inside had minimal impact.

“They’re still the person we’re ultimately responsible to; and, yeah, that’s it,” Joel said.

“Yeah, the picture on the wall is all that changed,” Joshua said.

Their dad also served in the Navy and worked at Naval Station Great Lakes.

They’re just two of the hundreds of thousands in the military that are staying the course to protect and defend, no matter what.

Officer Candidate School is just one path to the Navy. NROTC is an option on several college campuses.

Of course, just 40 miles north of us is the Navy’s only boot camp at the Naval Station Great Lakes.

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Lauren Victory