As the Soldotna High School class of 2016 was receiving their diplomas recently, one of their classmates was returning as a “Hometown Hero” and a U.S. Marine after having completed his boot camp training. Russian born Andrey Artamanonov came to Alaska with his mother when he was 16 years old and was able to complete his graduation requirements early and received his diploma in December last year. “The schooling is different in Russia so I put in the time so I could graduate early and go into the Marine Corp. I didn’t want to wait and turn 19 before I graduated from high school. Education here is good, but I wanted to move ahead with my life and learn other skills,” Artamanonov told the Dispatch in a Hometown Hero interview. “It was shocking for me when I came here. It’s hard to move to a new country and new place when you are 16. So many things were different, especially Alaska is even so much different from the other states and places in the world and it was hard for me to adapt I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I picked the military because it was the best option for me to learn new skills and find my place in this country. The Marine Corp. is a challenge that’s why I chose it. I worked to prepare myself as much as possible, but yes it was hard and physically and mentally demanding but I expected that and it was the actual patrolling and combat fighting sessions that I liked the best and I had to think on my own for the first time and as a team overcome obstacles, become a leader and work as a team to overcome situations with as few casualties as possible. I made some very good friends during boot camp and I hope to serve with them as my career moves forward in the future,” he said. Andrey isn’t certain where his military career will lead him in the future, but he does want to return to Alaska someday when his service in done.
At their monthly afternoon mixer meeting members of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce gathering at the new Palates restaurant in the Peninsula Center Mall were able to meet and congratulate him for his service to America. Andrey Artamanonov, U.S. Marine, SoHi graduate class of 2016 “Hometown Hero.”