16 September 2010

The Dirt Warriors from Iowa

Monday's Red Bull Rising post weeded through some Army acronymns related to the "advise-and-assist" mission in Afghanistan. Today, I'd like to drill down into one of these missions, the Agriculture Development Team (A.D.T.), also sometimes called "Agri-business Development Teams."

According to Army literature, ADTs work with the provincial authorities to provide agriculture-specific training on:
  • Water and soil conservation and management.
  • Animal husbandry (goats, sheep, cattle, donkeys, and horses).
  • Orchard management (apples, peaches, almonds, apricots, etc.).
  • Alfalfa and wheat production.
  • Vegetable production.
  • Agriculture marketing.
  • Extension programs and education.
  • Irrigation techniques and efficiency.
There are currently nine ADTs in Afghanistan, including a group of Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen deployed to Kunar Province in Eastern Afghanistan. The 734th Agri-business Development Team takes its formal name from the 734th Regional Support Group (R.S.G.), but has quickly re-branded itself the "Dirt-Warriors."

The ADT is keeping people back home well-informed via Facebook and other means. It's also had plenty of adventures already, including:
On their left shoulders, 734th RSG personnel wear the same "Hawkeye" patch worn by all Iowa Army National Guard soldiers not assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" division. Recently, however, the Dirt-Warriors put on their right-shoulder "combat patches"--the "Screaming Eagle" of the 101st Airborne Division!


  1. The "Discussing low-tech agriculture with the Iowa Amish" sounds fascinating!


  2. I agree! It's a creative application of citizen-soldiers' unique blends of skills (both as a team, and individually). And they took the opportunity to do some rather creative training before they left.

    They're really doing a great job in a wide-range of areas. Not to mention, keeping people back home informed on a nearly daily basis!


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