Members of the Indiana National Guard 2-19th Agribusiness Development Team (A-D-T) arrived in Indianapolis early this morning after being in Afghanistan for a year.
Loving family and friends excitedly embraced their returning soldiers at Stout Field early Wednesday morning. The troops were in Afghanistan to pass on effective farming techniques. Major David Indris said the unit trained around 1,000 families, but one of the biggest difficulties surrounded the place of women in Afghan culture.
“We had to come up with women trainers and women from our group to oversee the project,” said Indris.
The soldiers say they’re happy to be home. Ashley Wagner is from Brazil and had family help around the farm while her husband was away, but it was still hectic sometimes. “I tried to balance it between chasing boys and chasing cows,” said Wagner.
Many of the families kept in touch using Skype and sending old-fashioned care packages. Sergeant Matthew Magner of Salem said receiving parcels from home helped him cope with being overseas.
“Little Debbie probably made a lot of stock of me,” said Magner. “If you want to keep happy, just send me a lot of Swiss rolls.”
The Indiana National Guard’s 3-19th Agribusiness Development Team relieved the 2-19th and will be in Afghanistan for the next year. Two more Indiana teams are training for deployment, meaning Indiana will have a farm presence in Afghanistan until at least the summer of 2013.
The men and women may be home as soon as this weekend after being debriefed.