By ANIKET MEHROTRA
Assistant Principal Kris Kough (Admin.) began his two-week leave of absence on Friday, December 4th to attend a military training course in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
For Kough, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard, this will be the first of the Army’s planned exercises he will attend to prepare for his deployment to Afghanistan next year.
“The fun part is getting the opportunity to work with folks from other nations towards a common cause,” Kough said. “It is so cool to arrive, meet up, get to work and see how much we are alike even though we come from different corners of the world.”
Kough will be working with personnel from several member-states of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), including France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Italy, Turkey, Belgium and Canada.
He will be training in the Rapid Reaction Corps (RRC), which, according to Kough, is “essentially the first responders to any conflict in Europe” requiring a military intervention.
“Our training involves over 400 [military personnel] from many NATO nations, planning and executing the liberation of a province in northern Europe,” Kough said. “Through these very detailed simulations we can improve our warfighting capability, hopefully as a deterrent to war, ensuring peace and security [internationally].”
Kough is expected to return on December 15th, resuming his duties as Assistant Principal the following week.
“We’ve known about his absences for a while, and our goal is to always have a substitute assistant principal,” Principal Kevin Astor (Admin.) said.
The administration is still in the process of hiring a substitute assistant principal for the periods of time that Kough is absent.
“In the meantime primarily Mr. Matthew Pate (Admin.) and Mrs. Connie Park (Admin.) – and a little bit of me – are covering the things that he would be doing, covering all the student issues that are coming up,” Astor said.
As an active army reservist and high school assistant principal, Kough is protected by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
The purpose of the 1994 federal law is “to minimize the disruption to the lives of persons performing service in the uniformed services … by providing for the prompt reemployment of such persons upon their completion of such service.”