Kentucky National Guard team prepares for Afghanistan

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The room was filled with plenty of green, as 39 members of the Kentucky National Guard prepared to leave for Afghanistan to serve the red, white, and blue.

"We don't know what we're going to do. But I've allowed this team to have the broadest base of agriculture knowledge that I can provide," said Col. Bob Hayter to the crowd.

The Agribusiness Development Team is set to take over for another Kentucky ADT team that has been working with local Afghans to become self-sufficient in agriculture, since February.

"They've been at war for 30 years, and a lot of agricultural skills have been lost throughout the generations," said Staff Sgt. Nate Steel.

The team has been in training and are bracing themselves for just about any situation they could face.

"I've trained, it's been some hard training," stated Master Sgt. Zakyia Taylor.

"We're going to do our best to develop relationships and to try to (show) that we're not that far apart," added Staff Sgt. Robert Denham.

"We're there to help. We want nothing in return, we just to help them to be able to provide and sustain for their families and then we want to come home," explained Staff Sgt. Steel.

Home, a place where many of these servicemen and women say is where their families are facing the toughest challenge of all.

"The toughest part of being over there is just leaving my family behind," described Staff Sgt. Steel.

"I'm going to miss him a lot. The kids are going to miss him a lot. It's going to be difficult," added Steel's wife, Heather.

All the same, the men and women are trained and ready, and now they hope to leave a strong and positive influence in a country far away from the comforts of the Bluegrass State.

"Now we can put to the test everything that we've had the opportunity to learn," said Col. Hayter.

The Kentucky National Guard says more than 15,000 Kentucky Soldiers and Airmen have been deployed since September 11, 2001. Currently there are nearly 600 troops in Afghanistan, Africa, and around the world.


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