Thirty-nine members of the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 5 readied Tuesday for their departure to Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky, and the Kentucky National Guard Command Staff joined friends and families of the team members at the Kentucky State University demonstration farm in Frankfort to send them off.
“This mission is certainly unique,” Tonini said. “The ADT mission was designed to rebuild Afghanistan’s economy and give stability to its government.
“Because of our background in agriculture and the stellar reputation of the Kentucky Guard, we’ve led the way in providing these skillsets to the Afghan people.”
ADT 5 will take the reins from Kentucky’s ADT 4, which has been in Afghanistan since February. The mission is to continue the work by the previous four Kentucky units in assisting local Afghans in becoming agriculturally self-sufficient and developing their agriculture marketplace.
In addition to agriculture activities, ADT 5 will also help coordinate an effort with Kentucky FFA, Kandahar University in Afghanistan and nonprofit organizations to create programs to improve the incomes of Afghan farmers.
The team is made up of airmen, soldiers and civilian agricultural specialists with a variety of skills and backgrounds in agriculture matters.
Col. Bob Hayter is the commander of ADT 5 and said he feels prepared for the mission.
“We have five more weeks of training before we put boots on the ground in Afghanistan and I know we could go today. We’re that ready.”