Hoosier Troops Return Home After 10-Month Mission Mentoring
INDIANAPOLIS - Five National Guard Soldiers, including three from Indiana, returned to the Hoosier state, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after a 10-month mobilization and deployment to Afghanistan.
The unit was greeted by Brig. Gen. Michael J. Osburn, commanding general of 81st Troop Command.
"General Umbarger and I had the opportunity to be at their departure ceremony, and I told them I would be here when they got home," said Osburn. "We are really proud of what these guys have done."
Indiana's Third Mentor And Liaison Team
The Guard Soldiers represented Indiana's third mentor and liaison team. The Hoosiers worked with Slovak soldiers, and together they mentored and advised Afghan troops in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Signal officer 1st Lt. Andrew Muir, Indianapolis, acted as a communications advisor on the deployment.
"Our mission was to advise the Afghan National Army combat service support. We were a multinational team," said Muir. "It was very unique. Some things were pretty cool, and some were very different. It was a really great experience."
This multinational mission stemmed from the National Guard's State Partnership Program that started in 1993 to help Eastern European and western Asian countries gain acceptance into NATO after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Teaching Afghans Supply, Maintenance and Property Accountability
The Slovak and Indiana troops taught multiple classes on supply, maintenance and property accountability. They also conducted numerous supply and maintenance support missions, said Couch.
While the troops considered their mission successful, they were glad to be home for the holidays.
"It feels great to be home now. I can't wait to eat a cheeseburger," said Muir.
His family met them at the Indianapolis International Airport, along with other family members of the team.
The mentor and liaison mission continues for other Indiana Guardsmen who are deployed and working with other partners of the Slovak Army.
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