Homecoming and Sendoff!

Homecomings and Sendoffs-common functions in the lives of military families!  Both are filled with patriotism and emotion.  Friday was the homecoming for 46 members of Agribusiness Development Team (ADT)2 who have served nearly 10 months in Afghanistan.  Twelve members remain in country to complete the mission and ensure a successful handoff to ADT3 which had their sendoff today.  

I have the opportunity with UNL Extension to have gotten to know members of both these teams before they deploy as UNL Extension, NRCS, USDA National Agroforestry Service, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers have all be involved with providing agricultural training to these teams.   Building those relationships has been key for building trust for reach-back regarding questions when these teams are in country.   

As I pulled up on Friday, the first site was that of the Patriot Guard standing along the parking lot holding the flags.  The wind
was blowing such that the flags were completely unfurled.  That site alone brought tears to my eyes.  I still feel our flag is one of the most beautiful things in this world!  Knowing it would be a tough day anyway, I stood in the background trying to capture photos and video to share with the team members and families later.  The busses pulled up to families and friends flocking to greet the soldiers and airmen.  A plane flying overhead resulted in an eruption of cheers from the crowd as the soldiers and airmen debarked
 the busses and walked down the crowded sidewalk of cheering and anxious family and friends.  It was a beautiful site and the few of us who came to support the unit whose husbands remain in Afghanistan were so happy to see these families reunited.  A few tears welled up in our eyes but our pride for our Country and these soldiers and airmen allowed us to suppress the tears and be joyful for the families.

Today as I attended the sendoff for ADT3, again I observed mixed emotions.  Changes have caused for restructuring of that team as well and some were disappointed they were unable to deploy at this time.  Family members were fairly upbeat and showed their pride for their soldiers.  I was excited for the opportunity to say one last good-bye to the team I had gotten to know during training, meet their families, and assure them we were here to help with reach-back however we could.  While I hadn’t thought about it, maybe the sendoff was also helping me realize that my soldier will Lord willing soon be home as well.  These ADT missions have been key for helping the Afghan people become sustainable and feed their families and in training and mentoring the Extension and University people in Afghanistan.  I’m so proud of and thankful for our soldiers and airmen for their work on these missions!



About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on April 10, 2012, in Event, Military, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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