149th Military Engagement Team deploys to Middle East

By Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Members of the 149th Military Engagement Team gather in a huddle following a departure ceremony in Richmond, Ky., Nov. 12, 2016. The team will deploy to the Middle East to work with foreign countries to develop military to military partnerships and regional cooperation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Members of the 149th Military Engagement Team gather in a huddle following a departure ceremony in Richmond, Ky., Nov. 12, 2016. The team will deploy to the Middle East to work with foreign countries to develop military to military partnerships and regional cooperation. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

RICHMOND, Ky. — Kentucky National Guard leadership joined friends and family to say farewell to the 149th Military Engagement Team at a departure ceremony in Richmond, Ky., Nov. 12. The team is scheduled to deploy to the Middle East later this month.

“Today we honor some of the best Soldiers the Kentucky National Guard has to offer and we’re proud of what they do and the unique skill set they bring to this mission,” said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Adams III, Kentucky’s Director of the Joint Staff.

The 149th Military Engagement Team will conduct military-to-military engagements and information exchanges with regional military partners in the Middle East and Central and South Asia in support of U.S. Army Central Command.

The MET will use its members’ extensive military and civilian skills to promote cooperation, regional security and regional stability one engagement and one relationship at a time with partner nations.

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“Our team has a wide variety of knowledge, experience that will contribute to the success of our mission,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Gardner, commander of the 149th MET. “Regardless of your political positions, Soldiers connect with Soldiers, that can help assure military to military cooperation around the globe.”

Gardner took the opportunity to introduce each member of the team and the experience and skillset each brings to the mission. From law enforcement to construction project management or marketing, the wide array of talents the Soldiers bring adds to the team’s abilities and its unity Gardner said. The majority of the team comes from units within Kentucky’s largest brigade, the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

“As the commander of the 149th MEB, it is with a great deal of pride that we send this team forward with our representation, our colors and our symbol,” said Col. Alexander Stewart. “The opportunity to meet with counterparts of foreign nations and build long-lasting partnerships is a privilege only a few will encounter in their military careers, and its a great tribute to the quality of the Soldiers and leadership we have in the Kentucky National Guard that this team will represent the United States in this mission.”

The Soldiers will finish their training at Fort Hood, Texas prior to deploying overseas.