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Final Kentucky ag team receives prestigious award

 

Kentucky National Guard

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky National Guard has sent five agriculture development teams to Afghanistan since 2007. In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the teams strived to improve the capabilities of local farmers across Afghanistan with a unique approach to the civilians in a country at war. The Soldiers and Airmen took knowledge of irrigation, food preservation, and veterinary medicine to the people - skills that would prove just as important as the Service members’ military training.

 

In October 2013, that mission came to an end as the final Kentucky ag team safely returned from its deployment.

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In recognition of the team’s lasting work in Afghanistan, Agribusiness Development Team 5 was awarded the Governor’s Outstanding Unit Citation Dec. 7, 2013. Governor Steve Beshear presented the unit commander, Col. Bob Hayter, with the award during the governor’s annual Christmas luncheon with military families in Frankfort.

 

One week later, Hayter shared the award with the 38 other members of the ADT 5 at the unit’s Yellow Ribbon event in Louisville on Dec. 15.

“It was a great tour for me and is a tremendous honor to be recognized for what we were able to accomplish in Afghanistan,” said Hayter. ”I am thankful and fortunate to have been a part of this mission as my last deployment before I retire. If the team takes anything away from this mission, it was a combination of leadership, division, correction, and execution that made us a success.”

ADT 5 is only the second unit to received the citation since its inception in 2007. The 201st Engineers received the first in 2012.

 

The award was established to acknowledge a unit’s contribution to the mission for which it was deployed. ADT 5 certainly fit the bill as it built a veterinary clinic, established a youth agribusiness program, and provided long-lasting skills and resources to continue to expand and enrich many surrounding communities in Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Zakiya Taylor, an Air National Guardsman from Louisville, served as a project manger for ADT 5. She said the award validates the hard work of the unit.

“The deployment was a rewarding experience,” she said. “I was able to work with some amazing young people who were in charge of their villages but were hungry for knowledge and skills. Receiving this award brings the meaning of our mission to life by Governor Beshear’s acknowledgement.”

See more photos from the awards ceremony.