Kate Fisher, 21, made the most out of her eight months abroad, honing her communications skills and finding motivation to change her direction in life.
The 2011 Spring Lake High School graduate said she didn’t get into any war zones and never saw any fighting.
“Her mom wrote her a note,” joked her father, Dan Fisher.
Kate returned home to Nunica this week, letting her mother know via text that she was actually on her way.
“You never know how long it’s going to take to get through Fort Hood (Texas),” she said to explain why her return date was unknown.
A dozen family members and friends welcomed the weary traveler who came off the plane shortly after midnight Wednesday.
An open house is planned in Kate’s honor at 4 p.m. Monday at the Crockery Township Hall.
Kate said her friend, Erik Erhorn, convinced her to go into the National Guard when they were both seniors in high school.
“He talked me into it during trig class,” she said.
Already prepped to begin classes at Grand Valley State University, Kate started her training with a National Guard medical company out of Grand Ledge. She did a year at GVSU between basic and Advanced Individual Training. She also had once-a-month training that didn’t interfere with her schooling during the first year.
Her mother, Rhonda Fisher, said it was tough watching her daughter joining the military.
“Not being a military family, it was new to all of us,” she said. “Then it was like she was gone to camp. We didn’t think she would get deployed.”
But Kate’s advanced training last summer was extended with the determination that her company would be deployed.
Kate said she was already registered for college classes and had started moving into her apartment, but had to withdraw.
Her company headed to Fort Hood to prepare for deployment. When the company left for Afghanistan, they left Kate behind because she needed more training. Kate said that pushed her into a communications company, where she monitored flight operations via radio.
Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.