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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 26, 2013

Smith sees action in Afghanistan
Now back home attending Northwest

by Mason Mercer

Lucas Smith of Mount Ayr didn't always know what he wanted to do with his life, but he knew he wanted to serve his country.

Lucas graduated in 2007, but he wasn't sure about his plans after high school. The summer going into his senior year he decided to join the National Guard. I asked Lucas what made him decide to join the Natonal Guard. he said he wasn't sure what he wanted to do after high school, and his grandpa had served in the army and that kind of interested him. It also made him feel good knowing he was one of the many serving and protecting our country. He picked the Guard because he would be able to go to college at the same time as serving.

Lucas was deployed three miles away from the Pakistan border in Eastern Afghanistan in an area called Kunar Province. He was part of the 734th agri-business development team. Their mission was to help the Afghan people better their farming technicques and learn to use different types of seed and irrigation. He said the people were very grateful and easy to get along with.

Lucas thought Iowa summers were bad, but most of the time he was over there it was a 100-plus degrees and very dry, but in the winter during the night every once in a while it would drop below freezing.

Smith lived in the barracks with seven other people. I asked him what he did for fun and in his off time. He said there wasn't much to do. He said by the time he was done servinghe got pretty good at X-box and playing cards. For meals they ate in the dining facilities on base, but on occasion they would have to eat an ERE (a pre-packaged meal).

I also asked Smith what he missed most about home, and he said he missed seeing his family and friends.

At the end of our conversation I asked Lucas if he had a choice to go back over if he would do it again. His answer was if he could do the exact same mission he would do it again in a heartbeat. Lucas is in his two years of inactive ready reserve. After his two years are up, he is done with the National Guard.

Lucas now attends Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, majoring in business management and plans to graduate next spring.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2014

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