Spc. Vannek Pech, holds his newborn daughter Evelyn, with wife Leakhena Ian in the background, shortly after arriving at Lowell General Hospital. Pech had just boarded a plane and was prepared to deploy when senior leaders pulled him off to rush him to be with his wife. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Don Veitch, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs)
Army Sgt. 1st Class,
Massachusetts National Guard
LOWELL, Mass. — As Spc. Vannek Pech was waiting to board an aircraft that would fly him and 70 other deploying soldiers from Hanscom Air Force Base to the mobilization site at Fort Bliss, Texas on Dec. 6, 2010, he had a lot on his mind.
Not only was Pech, a radar operator with Battery E, (Target Acquisition Battery), 101st Filed Artillery Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard, concerned with how his deployment would affect his family, but more importantly he was focused on his wife, her labor and the rapidly approaching birth of their second child.
Moments before Pech heard his name bellowed down the aisles of the plane, he was one of the soldiers receiving well wishes from the command group. Instead of leaving with his unit, he was pulled from the plane.
“It speaks volumes about the quality of soldiers we have in the Massachusetts Army National Guard and their dedication to placing the mission and their unit first that Specialist Pech was sitting on the plane waiting to deploy knowing his wife was in labor,” Brig. Gen. Thomas Sellars, Commander, Massachusetts Army National Guard said.
“We have an obligation to support the families of our soldiers and what better time to prove that support than now and under these circumstances,” said Sellars.
Pech did not expect to be taken off the plane. He was driven through rush-hour traffic to Lowell General Hospital where his wife, Leakhena Ian, was in labor. He didn’t know that his daughter, Evelyn Pech, was born at 6:07 a.m. and weighed in at a healthy 6 pounds, 9 ounces when he arrived at the hospital.
He arrived too late to witness Evelyn’s birth, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Pech didn’t even have time to take off his pack before he scooped up little Evelyn and held her for the first time.
I’m grateful to the unit for releasing me to go see my wife and kids, and happy to see how much they care for their soldiers,” Pech said.
Pech will spend the next few days with his wife, son and new daughter; helping everyone get settled into a routine before joining his unit at their mobilization training site, and then deploying to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn.
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