An eastern Kentucky Marine is happy to be back in the mountains after spending months in Afghanistan.
He arrived home in August, which was the deadliest month yet for United States forces in the nearly 10-year-old war.
Lance Corporal Zach Lusk of Jackson has been serving our country in Afghanistan since January of this year.
“It was definitely hell there, coming back to Kentucky one of the first things I noticed was all of the green,” said Lusk.
Lusk is a Marine in the military police division who has been training Afghanistan soldiers to defend their country.
Friends and family said they were more than happy to welcome him home from his first deployment.
“We just thank God,” said his father, Johnny Lusk, who said that being a Marine kind of runs in the family.
“We are just very very happy to have him home,” he added.
“It's the answer to a lot of prayers,” said his sister Lexie.
“We can finally breathe again.”
The family said that they were incredibly proud of Zach and his accomplishments.
“There’s usually a day or two delay when something bad happens from over there,” said family friend and former teacher Anji Davidson.
”It's just really nice to be able to take a breath and not have that worry all of the time; we are just really glad he is back and all happy to be here.”
Lusk said that he feels blessed to have such a warm welcome.
“I almost teared up i was on the verge, it was an amazing feeling, I don't think I have ever felt that way before, especially seeing her and the family,” Zach said of fiancée Kalah when he returned back on American soil.
“It felt great, I wanted to kiss the ground,” he admitted. The marine said he is lucky to come back safe and unharmed.
“It’s just really horrible to have to lose a friend over there, can't imagine what the families feel like... so i am thankful to be home and not have to put my family through that,” he said.
Lusk had a message for his fellow Americans.
“They are fighting pretty hard right now for us to enjoy the freedoms like i am now, let's not forget them and thank them for what they're doing,” said Lusk.
Lusk is getting married on September 10 to his sweetheart Kalah Minix and moving to Jacksonville, North Carolina. He said he does not know if or when he will be deployed again, but is glad to be fighting for his country.