News: Congressional delegation visits Gardez, ADT
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. congressional delegation visited with soldiers of the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team at Forward Operating Base Gardez, New Year’s Day.
The congressional delegation was led by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma; and included U.S. Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.
U.S Army Brig. Gen. John Uberti, Chief, C/J-5 International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, U.S. Ambassador to Timor Hans Klemm, and various congressional staff members accompanied the senators.
The visit to Gardez allowed Inhofe to see conditions on the ground in Paktya province and meet with constituent-soldiers of the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
U.S. Army Col. Robert Roshell, from Lawton, Okla., commander of the ADT; U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Altebaumer, from Guthrie, Okla., agricultural team chief for the ADT; and U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Harley Rhynes, from Rush Springs, Okla., command sergeant major of the 2-45th ADT; met the delegation at the helicopter landing zone.
“It is not very often soldiers get to meet with U.S. senators, especially in a war zone,” said Roshell. “It was important for the senators to see a small part of what the U.S. military is accomplishing in Afghanistan.”
After a short introduction, the ADT escorted the senators to the dining facility to meet with soldiers. During the lunch, Inhofe and the other senators talked to the soldiers about their time in Afghanistan. The soldiers discussed issues of concern for them, including dwell time, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and pay and benefits for reservists returning from deployment.
The senators also met with U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Marchal Magee, from Issaquah, Wash., commander of the Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team.
“It was good for [the senators] to have a chance to talk to the Airmen and soldiers directly about our efforts here in Afghanistan and the progress we are making with the people and their government,” said Magee. “The delegation’s concern and sincerity for our safety was very appreciated and on a day when others are back home with their families ringing in the New Year. It was nice they made the sacrifice to be here with our airmen and soldiers.”