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Agribusiness team returns from Afghanistan

Amber Caskey hugs her boyfriend, Staff Sgt. David A. Holeman, during a welcome home ceremony held May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., for members of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Amber Caskey hugs her boyfriend, Staff Sgt. David A. Holeman, during a welcome home ceremony held May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., for members of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Spc. Justin H. Allen and his wife, Laura, hold their 9-month-old daughter, Elissa Skye, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., during a welcome home ceremony May 1, 2011, for members of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. Elissa Skye was born during Allen's deployment. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Spc. Justin H. Allen and his wife, Laura, hold their 9-month-old daughter, Elissa Skye, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., during a welcome home ceremony May 1, 2011, for members of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. Elissa Skye was born during Allen's deployment. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

More than 300 friends and family members gathered at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on May 1, 2011, to welcome home the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

More than 300 friends and family members gathered at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on May 1, 2011, to welcome home the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Sgt. Shahid M. Iqbal hugs his fiance, Kara Feese, during a welcome home ceremony held May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., for members of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. Iqbal and Feese are getting married in July. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Sgt. Shahid M. Iqbal hugs his fiance, Kara Feese, during a welcome home ceremony held May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., for members of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. Iqbal and Feese are getting married in July. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

More than 300 friends and family members gathered at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on May 1, 2011, to welcome home the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

More than 300 friends and family members gathered at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on May 1, 2011, to welcome home the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team II receive a standing ovation as they enter the Base Annex at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., for a welcome home ceremony May 1, 2011. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team II receive a standing ovation as they enter the Base Annex at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., for a welcome home ceremony May 1, 2011. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Col. J. Hunter Mathews Jr., commander of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II, thanked his troops during a speech May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., expressing his deep appreciation for their outstanding performance over he past 12 months while deployed to Afghanistan. The more than 60 Army and Air Guardsmen worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Col. J. Hunter Mathews Jr., commander of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II, thanked his troops during a speech May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., expressing his deep appreciation for their outstanding performance over he past 12 months while deployed to Afghanistan. The more than 60 Army and Air Guardsmen worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

More than 300 friends and family members gathered at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on May 1, 2011, to welcome home the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

More than 300 friends and family members gathered at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on May 1, 2011, to welcome home the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II. Comprised of about 60 Army and Air National Guardsmen, KYADT II just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Congressman John Yarmuth expressed his appreciation to the more than 60 Soldiers and Airmen who comprised the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II during a speech May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. The Soldiers and Airmen had just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Congressman John Yarmuth expressed his appreciation to the more than 60 Soldiers and Airmen who comprised the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II during a speech May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. The Soldiers and Airmen had just returned from a 12-month deployment Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Sgt. Quatrina E. Bilbrew, a human resources specialist with the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II, listens to Congressman John Yarmuth speak May 1, 2011, during a welcome home ceremony held for the team at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. Bilbrew was one of more than 60 Kentucky Army and Air Guardsmen who deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months, working to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, foster business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provide force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)
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Sgt. Quatrina E. Bilbrew, a human resources specialist with the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team II, listens to Congressman John Yarmuth speak May 1, 2011, during a welcome home ceremony held for the team at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. Bilbrew was one of more than 60 Kentucky Army and Air Guardsmen who deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months, working to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, foster business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provide force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, praised the service and dedication of the more than 60 Soldiers and Airmen who comprised the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team II during a speech May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. The Soldiers and Airmen had just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)
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Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, praised the service and dedication of the more than 60 Soldiers and Airmen who comprised the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team II during a speech May 1, 2011, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. The Soldiers and Airmen had just returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they worked to make Afghani farmers become agriculturally self-sufficient, fostered business opportunities through a women's-empowerment initiative and provided force protection. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

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.