185 ARW senior leaders deliver care packages

  • Published
  • By Capt. Peter Shinn
  • 734th Agri-Business Development Team
185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) commander Col. Brian Miller and Mission Support Group commander Lt. Col. Joe Ascherl paid a visit Tuesday to the 734th Agri-Business Development Team (ADT) at Camp Dodge, Iowa. Miller and Ascherl came bearing gift boxes for the soldiers and airmen who make up the historic, first-ever joint Iowa Army and Air National Guard deployment.

60 Soldiers and Airmen from the Iowa Guard will be deploying to Afghanistan in early August. They will be replacing an Agri-Business Development Team from California who has been working in Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan. Their job will be to assist Afghan farmers in rebuilding their agricultural economy.

The Camp Dodge visit was a family affair for Lt. Col Ascherl and his nephew Staff Sgt. Zach Ascherl, a member of the 185 ARW who is assigned to the 734th ADT. According to the elder Ascherl, the gift boxes for the Soldiers and Airmen of the ADT were the idea of his son, who wanted to support his deploying cousin, Zach. "The school my son goes to, - Maurice-Orange City-Floyd Valley- every year they put on a service day project," Lt. Col. Ascherl explained. "My son knew you guys were going to Afghanistan because his cousin Zach is embedded with you, and he wanted to do something for you guys," he added. "So they got shoeboxes for everybody and they put in beef sticks, a deck of cards, Sudoku books to help you pass the time, have a little bit of home and just to let you know people are thinking of you."

Col. Miller said he accompanied Lt. Col. Ascherl to Camp Dodge to distribute the care packages because he's proud of the Air National Guard members who are part of the ADT. He noted that all the Airmen who volunteered to work shoulder-to-shoulder with their Army brothers and sisters in the ADT are 185 ARW members. "As these conflicts go on, we've become more and more of a Joint Service and I think it's absolutely fantastic that the Air Guardsmen from Iowa are teaming up with our Army Guardsmen and going over there and doing a Joint deployment," Miller said. "It's the exact kind of thing we need to do to win today's fight."
As for the care packages, members of the ADT quickly put them to good use. Soldiers and Airmen alike immediately tore into the beef sticks with obvious relish.

The 734th ADT plans to have a formal send-off at Camp Dodge, Iowa, on July 1, 2010.

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