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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Local Soldier Readies for Ag Deployment

By Specialist Lucas Smith
734th Agri-Business Development Team

When I first found out about the Agri-Business Development Team (ADT) mission to Afganistan last November [2009], I volunteered right away.

In July, I'll have been in the Army four years, and I wanted to go on a deployment. This seemed like a pretty good one. We'll get to go and interact with people, rather than sitting "behind the wire" guarding prisoners.

Also, if the team needs help with construction, I'll be able to pitch in. I'm majoring in construction management at UNI [University of Northern Iowa] and work in the summers roofing houses and putting up siding.

At first I wasn't sure I'd get to go. Soliders on the ADT are hand-picked, and I was was selected just as an alternate. Then a couple of months ago, another soldier had to withdraw from the team and I got word I would definitely be going.

We've been training for the ADT mission since January during weekend drills. We started training full-time the last week of May, and this month we've been training hard. We're getting less sleep, but we're getting even better at the soldier tasks that will keep us safe over there.

I'm a little nervous about the deployment because it is my first one to a combat zone. But the Security Forces section I'm a part of all come from the same military police company, and we all work really well together as a team. That makes me confident we'll be successful in our mission of protecting the agriculture experts on the ADT.

We'll be going to Camp Atterbury in Indiana on July 1, right after a going away ceremony at Camp Dodge in Des Moines. My family will be there, and I really appreciate my mom and dad's support. I know they're proud of me. That's another reason I want to do a good job while I'm in Afghanistan.

My commander says I should keep everyone at home posted while I'm gone, so I'll write again when I have some more to tell you.

Specialist Lucas SMITH is a member of the Security Forces section of the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agri-Business Development Team (ADT). He is a lifelong resident of Mount Ayr and has been home visiting his parents -- James and June SMITH -- in prepartation for deployment. The ADT'S mission is to improve the productivity and sustainability of Afgan ag producers and agri-business, and build the capacity of the Government of the Islamic Repulbic of Afghanistan to provide agricultural services to its citizens.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2010

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