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The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

From school halls to service in Africa

Assistant principal called to serve nation overseas

From Charleston to the Horn of Africa, the call to duty required former assistant principal Steve Legette to leave behind his family, community, and job to do his part by serving his country in the South Carolina National Guard for one year.

Legette departed from Charleston in late June and arrived in Africa in early July. The Army National Guard is a state-based military component where each guard unit serves under their state governor. There are a total of 54 Army National Guard units, and it is the guard unit’s job to respond to emergencies or natural disasters and be there for the nation when they are needed.

“We are a part of South Carolina 218th MEB, which is a Maneuver-Enhancement Brigade. We’re running the joint operations here in the Horn of Africa, it has been an MEB mission,” Legette said.

Legette’s interest in the National Guard was sparked by his attendance at the Citadel. The Citadel, being a military college, gave Legette the connections and opportunities to start his serving journey.

“I joined the National Guard while I was going to the Citadel as a way to help pay for college, so I got a monthly paycheck and then I also got the Montgomery GI Bill, which pretty much paid for 75 percent of my tuition,” Legette said.

Africa is Legette’s second destination, after his deployment to Afghanistan in 2008. His current experience in Africa is incomparable to his experience in Afghanistan because the deployment duties are very different.

“It’s been a very unique situation [because] my last deployment was purely Army mission in Afghanistan and now… I work with Air Force, Marines; we have a Coast Guard base that I work with. Just having to work with different branches of the military and their capabilities… it’s not an opportunity a lot of National Guard members get to do,” Legette said.

During his nine-month deployment, Legette said he is finding it hard to refrain from feeling homesick now that they are in the eighth month of deployment. He has missed seeing his children during this school year and cannot wait to get back to his family.

“We are now getting to the point where you’re missing home. I got around 50 soldiers who work for me, and that sense of we’re ready to be done with this is starting to hit a little bit harder because we’re seeing the end line,” Legette said. “I have a daughter who’s a freshman at Wando… so [I’m] ready to get back to see her experiences and I have another daughter who’s a seventh grader [at] Cario and so I’ve missed their whole school year and seeing them grow.”

Legette’s daughter, freshman Campbell Legette, has found it hard being away from her dad during his deployment, especially when holidays come around.

“I’ve been dealing pretty [well] but it’s like he’s there but he’s not actually there, holidays have been the hardest things, just not being able to see him,” Campbell said.

A big supporter of Legette’s has been the Wando community. He has received encouraging emails and gifts and just the little contributions that give him the uplifting feeling to
keep going.

Wando teacher Dr. DiAnna Sox played a pivotal role in these supportive gestures.

“I started [with just] emailing him a couple of times to check in on him at the beginning of the school year [and then] I got some care package items together that I shipped to him,” Sox said. “He seemed so appreciative of receiving the care package, so that just kind of got me thinking about, maybe the school could do a little more for him at Christmas time.”

Sox reached out to the faculty at Wandoand proposed the idea of “Operation Christmas Cheer”, asking if they would provide some care items and goodies to ship to him for Christmas.

“I ended up having two large boxes andan additional envelope of letters and stuff that we were able to ship to him… on behalf of all of us,” Sox said.

Doing this for Legette means a lot to Sox and hits really close to home for her.

“It’s really important to me because my dad was a Marine, so the idea of service and honoring servicemen and women has been important to me,” Sox said. “ I’ve got two young kids and…Christmas time is just such a valuable time to be with your family, and so I couldn’t imagine having to be separated from my family during that time of year.”

This hard work from Sox and other faculty members does not go unnoticed by Legette, in fact, he cherishes everyone’s positive gestures during his time away.

“The Wando community has been very supportive [with] emails and packages, especially from the English department and I got a big care package at Christmas from a lot of different people,” Legette said. “Just like those little treats from home make a big difference. I got plenty of Wando T-shirts to wear now and good food and things like that, so those little things have been extremely nice to get.”

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