Agribusiness Development Team 3 returns from Afghanistan

Story by Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
Photos by Maj. Dale Greer, Kentucky Air National Guard Public Affairs

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Judy Tabor hugs her son-in-law, Staff Sgt. Jeff Valentine, during a welcome-home ceremony held Feb. 28, 2012, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. Valentine was one of 58 Kentucky Army and Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who have been deployed to Afghanistan for the past nine months as part of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team 3. The team’s mission was to help Afghan farmers develop sustainable agriculture. Its members were instrumental in coordinating the first-ever commercial mulberry harvest in the Panshir Valley, producing 75 metric tons of mulberries and netting $45,000 for local farmers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fifty-eight members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 3 were honored during a welcome home ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base Tuesday.

KYADT 3 was charged with sustaining the relationships built between former KYADTs and Afghan farmers to ensure the country becomes agriculturally self-sufficient through development of the agricultural marketplace. The task force was composed of Army and Air National Guardsmen with a variety of skills in agricultural matters.

“Without a doubt, the hard work of our third agribusiness development team will continue to be realized by an Afghan nation 20 years from now … and beyond,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Dornbush, chief of the joint staff, KYNG, to a crowd of more than 300 friends and family gathered to welcome home members of Task Force Hurricane.

Presiding over the welcome home ceremony was Brig. Gen. Steve Hogan, assistant adjutant general. “In a war torn nation where 70 percent of the population earns its living as farmers, the ability to increase the presence and legitimacy of the government’s local agriculture representatives can be a key to winning the counterinsurgency fight,” said Hogan. “You have shown our Nation your Unbridled Service.”

This was the third agribusiness mission for the Kentucky National Guard.  KYADT 4 is currently in Afghanistan and has just replaced KYADT 3.

“I want to thank the families, friends and loved ones of Task Force Hurricane for allowing your Soldier and Airman to serve our Nation,” said Col. Neil Mullaney, commander of KYADT3. “It has been an honor to serve with you, beside you and as your commander. I thank you.”

The Kentucky National Guard has nearly 450 Soldiers and Airmen deployed across the world. More than 14,000 Kentucky troops have deployed in support of the Global War on Terror since 2001.

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Brig. Gen. Michael Dornbush, chief of the Kentucky National Guard’s Joint Staff, leads the official party into the Base Annex at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 28, 2012, to kick off a homecoming ceremony for the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

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