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Lt. Col. Lake

Wofford in the military: Lt. Col. Bryan Lake '97

Committed to God, family and country

Lt. Col. Bryan Lake ’97 and his wife, Stephanie, a Converse College graduate, still enjoy a date night, in this case at the 2017 Fort Bragg Signal Ball. And because Lake has been deployed so often, they take them when they can. “Over the last 20 years, I have spent a year in Korea and eight months as a geographical bachelor for training, I have deployed twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan, and I’ve taken numerous trips of shorter duration,” says Lake, who has spent a total of seven years in command at the platoon, company and battalion levels and has served on staffs up to the 4-star general officer level. In Iraq he was responsible for U.S. Special Operations forces communications in-country, and in Afghanistan he was responsible for U.S. and NATO Special Operations communications in-country.

“No matter how difficult, no matter the level of responsibility, and regardless of the location or how uncomfortable, austere or dangerous conditions may be, the job is the easy part. ... It is the physical separation from family and friends, the sacrifices required of one’s family and the inability to be present for life’s special occasions and milestones that make it difficult.”

Modern technology helps, and Lake and his family communicate via FaceTime almost daily.

“The hardest part about being separated from Bryan is not being able to participate in life’s events together — first days of school, dance recitals, awards programs, birthdays and holidays,” says Stephanie. “Murphy’s Law also applies because it’s when he’s gone that an appliance breaks or the air-conditioning goes out. ... And, of course, we always worry about his safety.”

Lake was commissioned upon graduation. At the time, he intended to fulfill his four-year active duty obligation before moving on to a civilian career. A parachuting injury confirmed that decision.

Then Sept. 11, 2001, happened. 

“The events of that day and its aftermath galvanized my resolve to commit to a career of service to the nation. It’s a decision that I have never regretted,” says Lake. “I get to work with the most diverse and amazing group of people every day, and we all get to be a part of something greater than ourselves.”

By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89