United States Air Force veteran Kevin Fontenot was born in Basile.

He is a “full-blooded Cajun” and can trace his family tree back to before the expulsion of the French from Acadia, Canada by the British.

In 1754, Fontenot’s ancestors were among those families caught in what is known as The Great Expulsion, Le Grand Dérangement.

It began with the systematic removal of between ten to twenty thousand Acadians from Nova Scotia by the British Empire.  

The main objective of the British was to further control Nova Scotia by permanently removing the Acadian settlers.  

The complexity of the issues between the British and French Empires worsened with the Indian-French War in 1754, which lasted until 1763.

The British officials rounded up Acadians, placed them on ships and sent them to Louisiana.
As a boy growing up on the Cajun Prairie, Fontenot learned how to fish, hunt and trap.

In his early teens and up until he finished school he worked in the rice fields.

Often times Fontenot worked at night opening and closing levies to move the water around the rice fields.

It was cooler at night and Fontenot would rather fight off a few water snakes than fight the hot scorching sun during the day.
In 1988, Fontenot graduated from Basile High School. Like many other young men before him, Fontenot did not know what he wanted to do after graduation.

For a couple years he worked construction until one day he met the local the United States Air Force Recruiter in Opelousas.

The USAF Recruiter gave Fontenot some vocational skill test and as a result, Fontenot scored high enough that the recruiter promised him a school in Aviation Mechanics.
Soon Fontenot was on his way out to Lackland Air Force Base for Basic Training.
Lackland Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located in Bexar County, Texas.

The base is under the jurisdiction of the 802d Mission Support Group, Air Education and Training Command and an enclave of the city of San Antonio.

It is the only entry processing station for Air Force enlisted Basic Military Training. Lackland AFB is part of Joint Base San Antonio, an amalgamation of the United States Army Fort Sam Houston.
Here at Lackland AFB, Airman Fontenot was introduced to a wonderful guy called a Drill Instructor.

It was his job to teach all the new recruit the ins and outs of military life.
Airman Fontenot could not believe that he was so lucky. His life had really made a change for the better.

No more working all night in a muddy rice field fighting off snakes and mosquitoes.

Instead, often his DI would let Airman Fontenot and his entire squad lay up and sleep in their beds until five o’clock in the morning.

Then they would go on a little early morning jog and do some exercise just to build up an appetite for breakfast.
Breakfast at Lackland AFB was better than eating at a Shoney’s Buffett.

Usually, by lunch Airman Fontenot was still full from breakfast and he did not want to eat a big meal. However, after a fun day of marching and classroom instruction, he was ready for a nice supper.
In the military, they call supper dinner and dinner lunch; no matter what they called it Airman Fontenot enjoyed it more than eating at a Ryans Family Restaurant. Best of all, all the meals were free.
Just as the USAF Recruiter had promised, after Airman Fontenot graduated from Basic Training, he was sent Aviation Mechanics School. The Aviation Mechanics School is equal to a two-year technical school.

Graduates can use the credits earned toward a college degree.
When Airman Fontenot completed the USAF Aviation Mechanics School and received his graduation certificate he also received a set of orders to report for duty at Keflavik Air Force Base about fifteen miles from Reykjavik, Iceland. It is located on the Reykjanes peninsula on the south-west portion of the island.

Built during World War II by the United States Army Air Corps as part of its mission to maintain the defense of Iceland and secure northern Atlantic air routes, it served to ferry personnel, equipment, and supplies to Europe.
Fontenot arrived in Iceland right in the middle of the Cold War.

Since he had already received a Top Secret Clearance he was allowed to work on almost any of the USAF planes including the rotational E-3 Sentry AWACS and the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from CONUS which was used to support the air defense mission.

He also provided maintenance on the rotational HC-130 Hercules aircraft from RAF Woodbridge and from the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron in their search and rescue mission.
After two and a half years of active duty in Iceland, Fontenot was happy to come back home to Louisiana.
Fontenot, his wife Sherry and their three children made their home in the Magnolia community in the southern part of Beauregard Parish.
If you see  Kevin Fontenot or any veteran, he would surely appreciate a handshake and acknowledgment of the sacrifice and the commitment veterans have made in the lofty endeavor of securing American liberty.
They are solely responsible for having protected our fortunate state of being free from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior or political views. And that is a priceless act of service.