Family, friends and fellow service members gathered for a deployment ceremony at the McCrady Training Center, to send off the approximately 47 soldiers of the 3/49 Agribusiness Development Team (SC ADT 3/49), South Carolina Army National Guard, for their yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., adjutant general of South Carolina, said, “This agricultural team represents and evolution. The agricultural piece is the key to transitioning the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and helping the Afghans improve their way of life.”
While deployed, the SC ADT 3/49 will teach local Afghan farmers agricultural techniques and how to grow sustainable crops to provide for their families. They will also teach Afghan farmers how to prevent animal diseases, inoculate livestock and reduce the environmental impact of animal slaughtering.
“What you see standing before you today represents the very best of this state and this nation. I know that you’ve been trained well,” said Brig. Gen. Roy Van McCarty, commander 59th Troop Command.
Senator Lindsey Graham praised the South Carolina National Guard for their quality of soldiers.
“It’s not bragging if it’s true, the South Carolina National Guard is the best in the United States.” He continued by adding, “This group is going at maybe the most crucial time in the last five years. You are now the tip of the spear.”
SC ADT 3/49 is replacing another South Carolina National Guard ADT unit who has been deployed for the past year. The ultimate goal of these teams is to increase education, reduce poverty and expand job opportunities in Afghan communities.
“Thank you families for your sacrifices, thank you soldiers for your willingness to step forward to serve your great country. God bless all of you.” said Livingston.
McCarty added, “Go forth, do your job, do it well. We look forward to your return. God bless you and God bless your family.”
With Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Patriot Guard Riders leading the way, the soldiers waved goodbye to their families as they departed.