BR native turned soldier reunites with family after 10 months overseas

BATON ROUGE — After 10 months apart, two local kids were reunited with their mother, who was serving the country overseas.

Baton Rouge native Megan Vicknair returned home following a 10-month stint in Poland with the Army National Guard. Vicknair has had multiple reunions with her kids in their lifetime since she has served in the military for the last 26 years.

Vicknair said taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) was a way to get out of class during her time in high school at Woodlawn High. Little did she know that the test would open up a pathway to her future.

“I took the ASVAB to really get out of class for a couple of hours,” she recalled. “I scored well enough for the recruiters to call me. And yeah, as we say, the rest is history.”

Thursday, Vicknair’s kids, a second-grader and high school freshman, reunited with their mother at the Baton Rouge airport. A reunion that stirred up a range of emotions.

“It really is hard to be away for almost a year, but it’s so good to see the growth in them (kids),” Vicknair said. “I know that all three of us have really learned from the last 10 months as much as we could from being away from each other. There were tears of joy and happiness. All the things.”

Vicknair’s sister Ashley Deville Nolen, took Vicknair out to dinner to celebrate Thursday night.

“We got to spend some time talking about how thankful we are to have her back because we’ve missed several holidays this year without her,” Nolen said. I got to watch on FaceTime, but watching my niece, who’s been struggling this year without her mom, just immediately see her mom coming through the crowd and both was the coolest thing to me. She was just so excited to be back with her mom. So yesterday was amazing.”

Nolen, who is seven years younger than Vicknair, said watching her sister serve over the years has made everyone proud.

“Knowing that my sister has given up her entire life to serve our country means the world to me and our family,” she said. “She has stepped up every time that they’ve ever asked for someone to volunteer.”

“I was just starting college at that time, so she was just a big inspiration to me, and I think my younger sister as well,” she added. “She has not given up ever. She is a single mom. She’s just given so much to our country that it amazes me. I mean, to give 26 years of your life to make sure that your country is a place where you would want your kids to grow up is huge.”

Vicknair said the military has provided her with great experiences. Serving her country is a big reason why she has stayed active in the National Guard. She’s been deployed to several places over the last two and half decades, which include Afghanistan, Germany and Portugal.

“I definitely take pride in wearing the uniform, representing our country,” she said. “I love to serve and take pride in being an American and doing my part. And I honestly wish everybody could give it a try in some sort. You know, hey, we don’t all have to go fight wars and be away from our families, but putting on a uniform and being part of this part of the United States military definitely gives you pride in your country. Another reason I keep doing this is because of the support of family and friends I have back home. I couldn’t do it without them.”

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