Hunter Ellis joined the Washington National Guard last September. The 19-year-old Olympia resident felt the call of service – his family has a history in the military – and graduated from basic training on July 31.
Still, he wasn’t certain if he would be able to join the 81st Brigade in time for its deployment – until Monday.
"Yesterday was the first day with my unit," he said. "And I’m excited. I want to go and do my job. It’s what I was trained to do."