Senior leaders visit Kentucky Soldiers overseas

By Capt. Desiree Dillehay, 149th Military Engagement Team

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Adams III, right, presents Sgt. 1st Class Dutch Chapman, operations sergeant for the 149th Military Engagement Team, with a coin for his excellent initiative as a member of the team in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 3, 2017. Adams and Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden met with Soldiers of the 149th MET and the 207th Engineer Company during their visit to Kuwait. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Desiree Dillehay)

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Adams III, right, presents Sgt. 1st Class Dutch Chapman, operations sergeant for the 149th Military Engagement Team, with a coin for his excellent initiative as a member of the team in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 3, 2017. Adams and Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden met with Soldiers of the 149th MET and the 207th Engineer Company during their visit to Kuwait. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Desiree Dillehay)

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — The 149th Military Engagement Team and the 207th Horizontal Construction Company hosted senior leaders from the Kentucky National Guard March 3-4 at Camp Arifjan.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Adams III, Kentucky’s Director of the Joint Staff, and State Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden took the opportunity to visit with Soldiers in each unit, and they received a first-hand glimpse into each unit’s mission overseas.

“It’s just a continuous show of how much support we have back in the state for them while they are over here,” said Adams, noting that his favorite part of these trips is seeing the Soldiers and letting them know that they and their families are in good hands.

“And (we get) to see the good things that the organization continues to do for the deployments and for the active units, and how we are one big team,” he added.

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Adams and Munden spent the first day of their trip with the 149th MET, and the second day with the 207th. The two were in their natural element as they greeted Soldiers and talked with them about their wellbeing.

“I like that our higher command wants to see what we are doing on a face-to-face basis,” said Staff Sgt. Dana Stringer, 149th MET human resources sergeant. “It means a lot that (Brig. Gen. Adams) talked to multiple people about their future plans and gave them advice on pursuing those plans.”

Key themes of both days included professional development, mentorship, resiliency, mission progress and the stellar reputation of the Kentucky National Guard Soldiers.

On day one, the MET offered valuable insight into their unique mission as the engagement team for U.S. Army Central. The team used a private lunch hour with their guests to ask questions about career progression and the future of the Kentucky National Guard.

On day two, Adams and Munden had the opportunity to view the 207th’s motor pool, three project sites at Camp Arifjan, and the dig site, which is a training area for the engineer Soldiers.

During their lunch with Soldiers from the 207th, Adams and Munden discussed safety, answered questions, and gave advice on professional and personal self-development.

“Come home better than what you are now,” Munden said.

“It’s incumbent upon each and every one of you to respect each other, take care of each other, and come back safely. And that’s what we want to see and that’s what we want to hear,” Adams added.

Both Adams and Munden coined several Soldiers in each unit as a token of appreciation for the hard work and the contributions they have so far made to the missions.

The 149th MET deployed in late December and the 207th deployed in February. Each unit is well into their daily routine and charging ahead in their respective missions.

“On behalf of Gen. Hogan, thank you for everything you are doing. On behalf of myself and Sgt. Maj. Munden, thank you for the opportunity of letting us come out and see you guys,” Adams said.