Fox 41 in Afghanistan: Perspective of a soldier - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fox 41 in Afghanistan: Perspective of a soldier


BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN (Fox 41) -- Is the war in Afghanistan a fight that can be won?  And are we still years away from seeing true success?

Fox 41's Lindsay Allen has been following the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development team. 

She joins us on a mission at Bagram Airfield where she spoke with a group of guardsmen getting ready to come home, after a very long year.

It has been a long year for the guardsmen of Kentucky's Ag team 1, but they leave with a first hand perspective about what's really happening in Afghanistan.  

This unit has spent most of their year off of the base at Bagram working in the heart of the country in the villages.

So what is their take on the war they're fighting?  Lindsay Allen asked for a soldier's perspective.  

"We as Americans expect change overnight and that's definitely not going to happen, says Staff Sergeant. Catherine Corson, Nicholasville

For so many, it's hard to understand what we're still doing in Afghanistan.   And why American soldiers are still losing their lives here. 

But for these Kentucky Guardsmen the picture is clearer, after spending nearly a year working in the provinces and villages surrounding them. 

Lexington's Staff Sergeant. Shaun Gamble explains, "Just seeing the way things progress here. It's a lot more difficult to do things here. If we're going to try to get water to somebody else, but there's a mine field, and the mine field has to be cleared before we dig the ditches that get this village water."

Sergeant. Kregg Oliver of Hartford says to understand the war is to understand its people.  And these are a people where allegiance falls with your tribe and not necessarily to your country.

"It's been hundreds of years of hatred and fighting and stuff. We're sewing the seeds of kindness and nationalist thinking and stuff ya know. We're all Afghanistans instead of tribal areas," Oliver reasons.

That doesn't mean these soldier's aren't critical. Many have suggestions of what the military should be doing differently.

Oliver says, "In certain situations where I've been on previous deployments,  we lived in the towns that we helped that way the insurgents wouldn't come back cause they still live in fear at night."

In Afghanistan, progress is no longer being measured by shots fired.  It is about winning the hearts and minds of the people. If only winning hearts was easy in a country that has so little.

Corson says, "All of us get so used to the customs and luxuries of what we have in America and then you see the women here washing the clothes in the stream."

Sergeant. Tiffany Teegarden, Nicholasville explains, "Just seeing people that are so grateful for such little things when I have so much and was ungrateful for a long time."

Their advice to the Ag team taking over is to take it day by day.

Sergeant Oliver says, "Even though you can't see the big picture realize that you're doing things for better in Afghanistan."

And day by day is how these guardsmen will transition back to their old lives in Kentucky as Mom's and Dads, Husbands and Wive's.  But there will be a piece in each of them that will never be the same. Because all who fight in this war leave humbled.  All leave forever changed.

And we're happy to tell you that all the members of the Kentucky Ag team 1 should be back in the bluegrass state sometime next week.  This unit has experienced no loss of life during this deployment.

We know that the members of Ag team 2 will be here for the next year.  There is a Kentucky Ag team 3 that is already assembled and will take over after that this same time next year.  So this is a ongoing commitment.

Lindsay Allen, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Fox 41 News.

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