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Zabul ADT Friends and Partners October 24th, 2011 Dear Friends,

Camp Atterbury, IN eric.ahlness@us.army.mil @ZabulADT on Twitter

20 W. 12th St. St. Paul, MN 55124 T 612.812.3070 eric.ahlness@us.army.mil

I’m writing you during the last days of our Culminating Training Exercise here at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. This is the capstone event for many months of preparation and training. The training consisted of planning and executing movement, security operations, simulated key leader engagements while using linguists. The effect prepared us for hazards and threats we may encounter while in Afghanistan. Prior to this final exercise, our team participated in lead-up training for the better part of the October. As is Army tradition, we began our training spending a few days waiting in line, being issued new gear to bring in theater, getting immunizations, and completing paperwork.. It was worth the wait as the Army has greatly improved the gear deploying soldiers are being individually issued, including improved body armor, cold weather gear, and even better helmet pads.

CPT Foley by a MRAP

Our first training events included driver’s training on the Mine Resistant, Armor Protected (MRAP) trucks, counter-IED (roadside bomb) training and excercises, as well as multiple weapons qualifying and familiarization events. These events served as refreshers for soldiers with previous experience, and as a baseline of knowledge for those without prior knowledge in certain skill sets. A happy bi-product of our busy training schedule has been the opportunity to integrate with the Mississippi National Guard security force (SECFOR) element that has trained and will deploy as part of the ADT. Despite the initial language barrier, we’ve found them to be an extraordinarily

SGTs Walter and Walley shooting the M14.

compitent, and knowledgeable group of combat arms soldiers. As a Commander I feel truly fortunate to have these soldiers as part of my unit, and am confident that the other Minnesota Soldiers feel the same. Outside of training, life at Camp Atterbury is relatively quiet. Many soldiers gravitate towards the USO where there is a “books for kids” reading program, refreshments, and other diversions. Another favorite passtime is developing useful talents. Last week, Sergeant First Class Dan Bronk managed to give 11 haircuts in a single afternoon – all in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC). Other downtime is spent reading, building movie collections for the time ahead, and going to the gym with our resident Crossfit and P90X experts. It is a great start towards increased fitness for our team.

CPT Collins and SFC Carlson (our vet and vet tech) practicing engagements with an interpreter.


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Camp Atterbury, IN eric.ahlness@us.army.mil @ZabulADT on Twitter

One item to note: we’ve begun using our “Zabul ADT Marketplace” Facebook site as a reachback portal for trainers and experts stateside. If you, or someone you know is interested in taking part in this project and getting in on the discussion with our AG Team, please connect with Major Joe Berube who is handling this effort. To date, we’ve begun an enlightening debate on Cumin as a potential crop, to include growing, processing and bringing it as a product to market within Afghanistan.

20 W. 12th St. St. Paul, MN 55124 T 612.812.3070 eric.ahlness@us.army.mil

As always, I and my team are extrememely thankful for your support and good wishes during this process. I’ll close by using the same motto we use to end each ZADT meeting: Growing Victory!

Our guidon –Zabul ADT. The wheat wreath is taken from the Afghan National Flag and highlights the importance of wheat as a staple in the Afghan diet. Green is from the Mississippi unit crest and highlights the importance of agriculture and crops. The blue field is from the Minnesota crest and represents the central role and importance of water in Afghanistan.

Eric D. Ahlness Colonel, Infantry Zabul Agricultural Development Team Commanding


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