Agribusiness Development Team II returns
By Silas Allen, Missouri National Guard Unit Public Affairs Representative
/ Published January 29, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo. -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Brig. Gen. Stephen Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, welcomed Agribusiness Development Team II - which included 11 members of the 139th Security Forces Squadron -- at a ceremony at the Missouri State Capitol on Nov. 6.
The Missouri National Guard became the first in the nation to have an Agribusiness Development Team in 2007. The first team served in Nangarhar Province from fall 2007 until December 2008. The returning team will be replaced by Agribusiness Development Team III, which will continue the Agribusiness Development Team program's mission.
Included in the unit are security force personnel and agriculture specialists including an agronomist, pest management specialist, agriculture marketing specialist, hydrologist, soil science specialist and large-animal veterinarian.
Eleven members of the 139th SFS accompanied the 55-member contingent, providing the ADT II with security so they could conduct their operations in some of the most remote areas of the region. The team represents the first time Missouri National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed together as a part of a single unit.
Nixon said he had been especially impressed with the unit during his visit to Afghanistan last July. During the visit, the unit proclaimed Nixon an honorary member of the unit. Nixon said he was humbled by the proclamation, and said he especially treasures a photo of himself with the unit taken during his visit. The photo currently hangs on wall in the lobby of Nixon's office.
"While I'm proud of all our units in the Missouri National Guard, I feel a special connection to Agribusiness Development Team II," Nixon said. "Our state can be justly proud that the first ADT was a Missouri unit."
Staff Sgt. Seth Mackey, 139th SFS, said his aunt and uncle drove from Kirksville to Jefferson City to see him at the ceremony. Mackey's uncle is a U.S. Air Force veteran, and takes a personal interest in Mackey's Air Guard service.
"He always likes to keep up with me and what's going on," Mackey said. "I was just happy to see them."
Tech. Sgt. Terry Polley, of St. Joseph, said his wife met him at the Air Guard facility at Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph later in the day. The Air Guard flew the Airmen to the airport from Jefferson City after the ceremony.
"We had a kind of homecoming there at Rosecrans," Polley said.
Polley, who works full time as a security guard at the airport, said he has some time off before going back to work. He expects to use his time to take care of projects that were left undone while he was deployed, such as rotating tires and changing oil on his car.
Like Polley, Senior Airman Scott Brandau didn't see his family again until he reached Rosecrans. When he arrived, his mother, his brother and his niece were waiting for him.
Brandau's transition back to civilian life has been fairly easy.
"I really haven't had to do too much," he said. "I get to take clean showers, and don't have to worry about the dust."
For Senior Airman Matthew Jacobs, the most interesting part of the ceremony was meeting his teammate's families.
"When you're deployed with everybody, you don't think about their families," he said. "So I thought it was kind of neat seeing everyone's family and meeting them all."