Agribusiness team returns from Afghanistan
By Army Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
/ Published May 24, 2011
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, KY. -- Hundreds of friends, family and co-workers packed into the Base Annex here May 1 to welcome home more than 60 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who had just returned from a yearlong agricultural-support mission in Afghanistan.
The troops, all part of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II, spent the past 12 months helping Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostering business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and providing force protection.
"ADT II had the unique responsibility of bringing some good, old-fashioned Kentucky agricultural know-how to a people plagued by decades of war," said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky's adjutant general.
He noted that team members provided expert guidance on such subjects as bee husbandry and chicken farming.
"I can't say enough about their professionalism and the positive impact they made on the other side of the world," he added. "This team put Kentucky on the world map for the outstanding job they did."
The Soldiers and Airmen also worked alongside French, New Zealand and Korean coalition forces, covering the largest area of any of the Agribusiness Development Teams in Afghanistan.
Congressman John Yarmuth, who attended the welcome-home ceremony, praised the Kentucky Guardsmen for helping make the world a better place.
"I congratulate you on a job well done," he said. "You've made us all so proud, and we're so glad you've made it home safe."
Now that KYADT II is back in the United States, the team's work has been handed off to Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team III, which arrived in Afghanistan a few weeks ago.
Like its predecessor, KYADT III is comprised of volunteer Soldiers and Airmen from across the Kentucky National Guard. The new team's commander is Col. Neil Mullaney of the 123rd Airlift Wing.