A Smith County judge, known for her tough style on the bench, had a very special visitor this week. Judge Cynthia Kent's son, Wayne Kent, is on leave from Afghanistan from his second tour of duty. The U.S. Navy third class petty officer is set to get married in June and re-deploy for his third tour in July. He says he's seen significant progress being made.
At 21 years old, Wayne has visited a number of countries through his duties with the U.S. Navy. "Germany, Switzerland, France, Qatar, which is outside of Bahrain, then Afghanistan," said Wayne, a third-class petty officer with the U.S. Navy. The youngest son of Smith County 114th District Judge Cynthia Kent, says there's no place like home. "East Texas is beautiful to come home to," said Wayne.
Wayen says he joined the Navy because he wanted to make a difference. Judge Kent says it's tough having her youngest son away, but she know he's doing what he wanted to do.
Having been through two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Wayne says he knows U.S. troops are having a positive effect on the country. "It's getting a lot better. Things were a bit rocky last year," said Wayne. "This year, I really felt a lot safer."
Wayne works on the flight line. While overseas, he works 18-20 hour shifts every day for three months straight. He spends the rest of his time at a naval base in Washington state. He only gets to come home to East Texas one week a year.
His fiance says she gets to talk to Wayne for five minutes a week. "The deployment is hard but it's also brought us a lot closer. He's matured a whole lot," said Wayne's Fiance Ashley Ross. Despite all of the sacrifices Wayne has to make, he says he would not trade it. He's doing just what he wanted to do.