ADT 4’s team-building process

Story and photos by Sgt. Paul Evans, KY ADT 4 Unit Public Affairs and Historian Representative

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Members of Kentucky’s Agribusiness Development Team 4 gather up for a group photo on April 9, 2012. ADT 4 has been working to help educate local farmers in southern Afghanistan on improved farming and business techniques since their arrival in February 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Maj. Teresa Rea)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — Over halfway through their mission, Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4 leaders seemed to agreed that their diverse assembly of Soldiers, Airmen, and Civilian Agricultural Specialists from across Kentucky—and a few from outside the state—had finally started to find its rhythm.  ADT 4 has worked in southern Afghanistan to help educate local farmers on improved farming and business techniques since February 2012.

“Getting a diverse team, trying to find people that had experience with each other, it was a balancing act,”  Maj. Walter Leaumont said of the initial selection process. “You want to get a spread, but you’re looking for the same qualities in people. Are they willing to play as a team member? What kind of experience do they have? Do they have any agricultural experience?”

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Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team 4 Commander, Col. Tommy Barrier of Versailles, Ky. monitors unit training on March 10, 2012. ADT 4 has been working to help educate local farmers in southern Afghanistan on improved farming and business techniques since their arrival in February 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

“There were people that came on board that did not mobilize with us, that we realized shortly into the program that they were not going to fit into the team,” he continued. “A lot of that, no matter how much you do pre-vetting, some of that’s just got to be whenever you hit the ground.”“It’s a forming, storming, and norming process,” according to ADT 4’s Commander, Col. Tommy Barrier of Versailles, Ky. “We certainly went through that.”

“We formed together well,” he recalled. “Everybody was excited and motivated to come here, and we explained to them that this was not a kinetic (fighting) mission. We explained to them that this was an Agribusiness Development Team, and that we would be doing more technical stuff than we would be doing kinetic stuff.”

“I think some folks were a little disappointed in the beginning because you get hyped up, you go through the train-up, you go through Wendell H. Ford (Regional Training Center), and all they teach you is the kinetic piece of this,” Barrier discussed.

“So, it’s kind of when you get here, we’re not kicking doors, and we’re not doing combat patrols, but we are helping the Afghan government, the Afghan people, and the agricultural people,” Barrier noted. “Since they’ve (ADT 4’s members) understood the mission and what we’re doing, they’re starting to norm again.”

“I’ve seen deployments where it takes a little time, and I’ve seen deployments where it takes a little bit longer time (to get a unit working together),” Barrier continued. “This (ADT 4) one was one of those ones where it took a little bit longer to get everybody gelled together.”

“One of the differences about this unit and the unit that’s normally mobilized, this unit was completely made up from different (units)…different backgrounds, different MOS’s (military occupational specialties). It wasn’t a unit that worked together prior to this,” Barrier added.

“Since we are a nonstandard mission…I didn’t want to hamper by taking too much out of one unit,” Leaumont explained about his recruiting strategy. “Although we did take a lot out of the 103rd (Brigade Support Battalion) and the 138th Fires Brigade in general, also out of the 63rd (Aviation Brigade), there were other Units we looked at.”

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Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team 4’s Spc. Keith Stanley of Frankfort, Ky. provides security during a mission on June 8, 2012. ADT 4 has been working to help educate local farmers in southern Afghanistan on improved farming and business techniques since their arrival in February 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

Over halfway into the mission, Barrier and Leaumont both seemed to agree that ADT 4 had finally started to function as an effective team.“It took a little time to find everybody’s niche,” Barrier recalled. “Almost everybody in this organization has two or three talents that they can do, and that’s the kind of person that we need.”

“We need somebody who’s flexible, we need somebody who’s willing to be a part of the team, and to step up and say ‘yes, that’s not my MOS, but that’s a job that I can do.’ We’ve found that with several people in this organization,” he observed.

“Honestly, I feel like it’s been a little slow, but we anticipated that at the beginning. So all-in-all, I think it’s been a good mission,” said Sgt. Bobby Sizemore of Lawrenceburg, Ky. This is Sizemore’s first deployment overseas.

“We’ve had snags here and there,” Sizemore observed. “Altogether, I think we’re working through them, that things are getting better.”

“The people that you’re with, you won’t ever really forget them,” Sizemore added. “You’ll always have that connection because you served time together.”

At the end of the day, Leaumont summed up ADT 4’s accomplishments so far with a simple observation.

“When you sit there and see people succeeding, it’s nice to know that we had a little bit of a part in that.”

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