103rd Brigade Support Battalion helps shape ADT 4

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

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Pictured left to right: Staff Sgt. Charles White of Perryville, Ky., Maj. Walter Leaumont of Lexington, Ky., and Staff Sgt. Mark Arnold of Harrodsburg, Ky. get together for a photo prior to a mission with the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4 prior to a mission in southern Afghanistan on February 14, 2012. The three Soldiers are also full-time staff members for Harrodsburg’s Headquarters and Headquarters Co. 103rd Brigade Support Battalion, 138th Fires Brigade. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — While most of Harrodsburg, Ky.’s 103rd Brigade Support Battalion, 138th Fires Brigade is back in Kentucky serving its citizens, they can’t help but remember a small team from their battalion is halfway across the world.

This team of nine Soldiers from across the 103rd Battalion deployed to southern Afghanistan as part of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, taking with them the skills developed in the 103rd. Altogether, Soldiers from the 138th Fires Brigade as a whole make up more than one-fifth of ADT 4’s members.

“Most of the full-time staff has taken on the other duties that we normally didn’t have in order to continue our throughput,” said Frankfort, Ky. resident Capt. Brian Mattingly, the 103rd’s Battalion Administrative Officer. Three of the deployed 103rd members also serve as full-time staff back at the 103rd BSB Headquarters in Harrodsburg, Ky.

In addition to the nine unit members with ADT 4, the 103rd has more than a dozen Soldiers either deployed or preparing to leave for areas ranging from Afghanistan to Kuwait to Africa.

“Almost all of the Soldiers volunteered for those deployments,” Mattingly said. “That is the testament to the great leaders that we have in the 103rd BSB.  Our Soldiers are the best in the state and always answer the call, day or night.”

“When I came in we had several people that volunteered for the mission, people that I had front line visibility on,” recalled Maj. Walter Leaumont of Lexington, Ky., ADT4’s Executive Officer.

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Staff Sgt. Charles White of Perryville, Ky. (center) takes some time to rest during a mission in southern Afghanistan alongside Spc. Christopher Young (right) of Richmond, Ky. and Sgt. 1st Class Greg Dunning (left) of Almo, Ky. The three Soldiers are members of Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

“They’re playing a vital part, just because we came in just a bunch of different people from different units, and it was nice having that core of 103rd personnel that I knew that were working well with each other,” Leaumont added.

“The war had been going on for almost 11 years, and it was time I went with them,” reflected Staff Sgt. Charles White, a Perryville, Ky. resident.  Before leaving he worked as a full-time network administrator for Headquarters and Headquarters Co. 103rd BSB.

“It’s been a learning experience on positive and negative aspects of being a Soldier,” White added. “Just being a Soldier in itself is a challenge, but it’s actually pretty nice being around some familiar faces.”

“Maybe it’s seeing other aspects of their personality that you really don’t see back home,” White said about challenges of deploying with other 103rd members. “But all-in-all it’s just actually getting to know them even better.”

The 103rd troops with ADT 4 consist of: Staff Sgt. Michael Watts of Danville, Ky., originally from Co. A, Danville; Staff Sgt. Charles Yankey and Sgt. Randy Sewell of Frankfort, Ky. from  Co. B, Frankfort; Master Sgt. John Black of Lawrenceburg, Ky. from Co. B; Staff Sgt. Mark Arnold of Harrodsburg, Ky., Staff Sgt. Charles White of Perryville, Ky., Sgt. Jeremiah Kwiek of Mt. Washington, Ky., Sgt. Paul Evans of Richmond, Ky., and Maj. Walter Leaumont of Lexington, Ky. from Headquarters and Headquarters Co. in Harrodsburg.

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Members of Headquarters and Headquarters Co. 103rd Brigade Support Battalion, 138th Fires Brigade show support for their peers at a departure ceremony in Frankfort, Ky. on January 3, 2012. A total of nine 103rd BSB Soldiers currently serve in southern Afghanistan with the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 4. Pictured from left are: Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Tudor of Lancaster, Ky.; Staff Sgt. Jesse Davis of Lexington, Ky.; ADT 4 member Staff Sgt. Charles White of Perryville, Ky.; and First Sgt. James Crawford of Danville, Ky. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

“With the use of media sharing outlets such as Facebook we are able to track their well-being and talk to them through the use of emails,” Mattingly said of keeping in touch with his deployed Soldiers.

“I talk to Mattingly probably once or twice a month just to check in,” Leaumont noted.

Asked whether he’s looking forward to getting back home to the 103rd, White offered an emphatic “yes.”

“I don’t know how to elaborate on that,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back home. We’ve got a great working group there. Everybody gets along–it’s a really nice working environment.”

“It’s always a relief to get everyone back home–not just Kentucky Soldiers and Airmen, but also everyone who has ever deployed or had duty overseas away from home,” Mattingly said.

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