Congressman Hal Rogers (R) visits troops in Afghanistan

SDM 

By Col. Hunter Mathews, KYNG Agribusiness Development Team II Commander 

Congressman Hal Rogers (R) visits with Soldiers and Airmen from the Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team II in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan Sept 2.

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (September 16, 2010)– Four U.S. Congressmen from the House Appropriations Committee visited Panjshir and Bagram, Afghanistan to gather information and review operations in the theater on Sept. 2. Members of the delegation included Representative Hal Rogers (R) from Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District, Representative James Moran (D-VA), Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK).

The purpose of the visit was to meet with Soldiers and Airmen, discuss issues with key military and political leaders, review readiness, rotation of forces, and logistical requirements for on-going operations.

The delegation arrived at Bagram Airfield and met with Maj. Gen. John Campbell, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101.  From Bagram, the delegation traveled by helicopter to Panjshir Province to see the efforts of the Provincial Reconstruction Team and Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II elements located there. They received a briefing from Mr. Bill Martin, the Senior U.S Civilian representative on progress in Panjshir and met with the Provincial Governor, Keramuddin Keram. Congressman Rogers visited with Lt. Col. Jeff Casada and Staff. Sgt.  Josh Hancock, the KY ADT II reps in Panjshir Province, regarding Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II’s efforts to improve agriculture in the province. Both Lt. Col. Casada and Staff Sgt. Hancock are from the 5th District in Kentucky. KY ADT II projects include reforesting hillsides to control soil erosion, improving fruit and nut orchard production, fish farm expansion, and developing demonstration farms to help the Afghan Director of Agriculture teach innovative agricultural techniques to local farmers.From Panjshir, the delegation returned to Bagram Airbase and had lunch at Koele Dining Facility with representatives from the Congressmen’s home states. Several Task Force Ironhorse (Kentucky ADT II) Airmen and Soldiers, including SSgt Jason Joseph and Staff Sgt. Derek Dennis from the 5th District, were at the luncheon and visited with Congressman Rogers. The delegation then received a briefing from the KY ADT II Commander, Col. Hunter Mathews, regarding the unit’s efforts in the four provinces of Parwan, Kapisa, Bamyan and Panjshir, followed by a round robin discussion of Agriculture and Counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan. Col. Mathews noted that Congressman Rogers was designated as the Soldier of the Year for 1960 for the Kentucky National Guard’s Battery A, Field Artillery Observation Battalion in Lexington, and presented him with a Task Force Ironhorse coin for his visit to see Kentuckians working for their country.

Lt. Col. Jeff Casada from the Agribusiness Development Team II talks with Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers (R) about the unit's mission in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan Sept. 2

Accompanying the delegation was Col. (R) B.G. Wright, longtime Kentucky Guardsman and former commander of 1st Battalion, 623d Field Artillery. Col.(R) Wright is currently a professional staff member on the Committee on Appropriations (Subcommittee on Defense).

The Congressional delegation then visited the US forces Craig hospital, where they visited wounded American servicemembers and thanked them for their service. 

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