By Jan Rahn
There’s no place like home—There’s no place like home. And in the mind of an American soldier, those words hold a lot more meaning while they are standing on foreign soil.
Very happy to be home is E4 Specialist Hunter J. Vak who is in Grant visiting family after serving approximately 11 months at the ISA Air Base in Bahrain.
As a member of the 133rd Engineering Company 94th Troop Command of the Wyoming National Guard, Vak and 162 fellow guardsmen successfully completed their mission of providing security operations.
Vak said the most difficult thing to deal with while away was not being able to see his family. However, he said he realizes it was probably easier on him as a single man than it was on fellow guard members who had wives and children back home.
Vak’s family in Grant consists of his dad, James Vak, and stepmom Sharron, along with brothers Jesse and Kaleb.
He grew up in Laramie, Wyo., and Cheyenne, Wyo., and graduated from Cheyenne East High School in May 2010. He had enlisted in the Wyoming National Guard on Nov. 13, 2008. He attended college at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne for one year prior to being deployed.
Returning to school to finish his education is Vak’s goal once he spends some time reconnecting with family and friends.
When Vak and his comrades returned, they were greeted at the Laramie Wyoming Regional Airport by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield, other legislators and guardsmen, along with a large crowd of people welcoming them home.
“I would like to thank the people of Perkins County for their support while I was away,” said Vak. “A big thanks to Scout Troop 160 for the care packages they sent to me.” Upon returning to the states, Vak reenlisted for another six-year term in the Wyoming National Guard.
“If I could convey a message to anyone, it would be to continue to support the military and our constitution and the freedoms it gives us,” said Vak. “Also, any help you can give to a veteran is a worthwhile cause.”
As a dedicated U.S. soldier, Vak shared a special quote that holds a lot of meaning for him: “We will not waiver, we will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail, peace and freedom will prevail.”—George W. Bush