"As I look around this room, I suspect that some of you joined the military after 9/11 because you had seen fellow Americans suffer at the hands of [Osama] bin Laden. When we got him, and as we keep on driving to get the rest of them, it’s because of the work and the sacrifice that you guys have made."
- President Barack Obama, speaking to 10th Mountain Division Soldiers at Fort Drum
Obama thanks Soldiers, discusses Afghan drawdown at Drum
"She went above and beyond what we expect our interpreters to do, and she did an excellent job of being there when we needed her, even in the presence of imminent danger... I know she was scared; so was I. But even though she was, she still helped us when most would freeze up. The infantry life is not for everyone, and she did an outstanding job holding her own through everything we asked her to do."
- Spc. Felicia Hemphill praises Shakilla Zikeria, an Afghan-American interpreter who works for the Paktya Provincial Reconstruction team and is the first female in the history of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan to receive the Military Essential Personnel Award for Valor
Afghan-American woman first to receive valor award
Army National Guard (ARNG) Agribusiness Development Team
What is it?
The Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) brings together 58 Army National Guard Soldiers and Air National Guard (ANG) Airmen with backgrounds and expertise in various sectors of the agribusiness field. Soldiers and Airmen combine their talents and skills in a unique and growing effort in Afghanistan. The ADTs provide training and advice to Afghan universities, provincial officials, and local farmers with the goals of increasing stability and improving opportunities for Afghanistan's reemerging agribusiness realm. ADTs ensure that improvements are sustainable with local assets and within the context of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) abilities.
What has the Army done?
Nine ADTs are deployed to Regional Command East and Regional Command South in Afghanistan. Deployed teams hail from Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nevada, Iowa and Arkansas. To date, 28 teams have operated in 15 provinces and contributed to over 578 agriculture projects generating more than $31 million in economic impacts for the people of Afghanistan.
ADT Soldiers bring their military capabilities as well as their professional civilian skills and education in various agricultural disciplines to work directly with the farmers of Afghanistan. Specific skills include agronomy (soil and seed science), irrigation, horticulture (plant cultivation), pest control, veterinary/basic animal husbandry techniques, civil engineering and energy management. These citizen-Soldiers leverage the assets and expertise of land-grant universities and cooperative services within their home states. Since the inception of the ADT mission, Afghanistan has had increased harvests of apples, grapes, pomegranates, cherries, almonds, wheat, corn, alfalfa, and saffron.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The ADTs conduct stability operations by building agricultural capacity, establishing a safe and secure environment, enhancing the rule of law, sustaining economic development, developing sustained governance, and fostering social well being.
Why is this important to the Army?
The ADT concept provides three major benefits to the counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy: (1) impart agricultural expertise to Afghan farmers, (2) assist the Task Force Commanders with daily community engagement and (3) exemplify an evolving mission focus toward “soft power” in a volatile environment. The Department of State, United States Department of Agriculture and United States Agency for International Development enthusiastically support the ADT initiative.
Army National Guard
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