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Vermont National Guard in Afghanistan

Vermont National Guard in Afghanistan

Photos
U.S. Army Maj. Lora Bowens, a nurse practitioner with 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), 86th IBCT (MTN) Task Force Wolverine and a Saint Albans, W.Va., resident, writes down a list of medical supplies that are needed by the Women's Birthing Center, Charikar, Parwan province, Afghanistan, Sept. 15, 2010. Bowens is a member of the Female Engagement Team (FET) who visits the Women's Birthing Center to address some concerns the women may have within the center. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kristina Gupton/Released)
U.S. 1st Lt. Ana Monteiro, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment (1-101st), Massachusetts Army National Guard, swings with an Afghan girl at Ariana School during a humanitarian aid drop of school supplies on Nov. 10, 2010, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Monteiro and other Soldiers of the 1-101st have 'adopted' the mostly girl school by providing three more classrooms and donating school supplies several times since May.
U.S. 1st Lt. Ana Monteiro, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment (1-101st), Massachusetts Army National Guard, goes down a slide with an Afghan girl at Arian School during a humanitarian aid drop of school supplies on Nov. 10, 2010, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Monteiro and other Soldiers of the 1-101st have 'adopted' the mostly girl school by providing three more classrooms and donating school supplies several times since May.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Swayer Alberi the Brigade Medical Operations Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) Mountain (MTN), Task Force Wolverine, from Eden, Vt., and with Maj. Lora Bowens a nurse practitioner with the 86th IBCT (MTN), TF Wolverine, from Saint Albans, W.Va., discuss what medical materials are needed at the birthing center with the head doctor of the Women's Birthing Center, Charikar, Parwan province, Afghanistan, Sept. 15, 2010. Alberi and Bowens are both members of the Female Engagement Team (FET) that visit the Birthing Center to address some concerns they may have. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kristina Gupton/Released)
U.S. Army Spc. Travis Hale, a combat engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Task Force Wolverine inspects Afghan National Police's firefighting equipment police at the Operations Command Center Aug. 5, 2010, in Bamyan, Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Spc. Travis Hale, a combat engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Task Force Wolverine, inspects Afghan National Police's firefighting equipment at the Operations Command Center Aug. 5, 2010, in Bamyan, Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Spc. Travis Hale, a combat engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Task Force Wolverine, inspects Afghan National Police's firefighting equipment at the Operations Command Center Aug. 5, 2010 in Bamyan, Afghanistan.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kent Samson, left, and Master Sgt. Michael Sanchez, both members of the support operations section, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, work together to complete an order form Aug. 9, 2010, in their SPO shop at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan. Samson and Sanchez are two of 24 soldiers who work in the SPO section that order supplies for soldiers around the Kabul Base Cluster.
Sgt. Kris Maxham, a supply sergeant with Alpha Company of the 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, cuts open a box of binders to restock the supply at the Self Service Supply Center Aug. 10, 2010, at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan. The SSSC is one of three warehouses Alpha Company manages.
Sgt. Nathian Foster, a vehicle mechanic for Bravo Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, works on a Humvee Aug. 10, 2010, in the maintenance shop at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan. Members of Bravo Company have done more than 2,000 jobs in the course of five months supporting all camps in the Kabul Base Cluster.
Lt. Col. Thomas Essex, left, a general medical officer with Charlie Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, looks at 1-178th Field Artillery, South Carolina Army National Guard member, Sgt. Sloan Holley's throat during a check up Aug. 10, 2010, at the troop medical clinic at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan. Essex and other members of Charlie Company provide medical care for service members stationed on Camp Phoenix and other camps throughout the Kabul Base Cluster.
Spc. Steven Griggs, a truck driver for Alpha Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, poses for a picture in front of his Rhino Runner Aug. 10, 2010, at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan. Griggs and other members from Alpha Company's truck platoon move service members and civilians with the Rhino Runners safely to destinations throughout Kabul.
Staff Sgt. Peter Rawling, center, convoy commander for Alpha Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, provides a convoy brief Aug. 10, 2010, at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan, before the movement team heads out on a mission to deliver personnel and supplies. Alpha Company's truck platoon has moved more than 14,000 passengers in the first five months of their deployment.
U.S. 1st Sgt. Wendell Barney, center, Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment (1-101st), Vermont Army National Guard, gives pictures of residents from Vermont putting together school supply donations to a teacher, left, at Ariana School on Nov. 10, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Soldiers of the 1-101st have 'adopted' the mostly girl school by providing three more classrooms and donating school supplies several times since May.
Macedonian soldiers in the Macedonian Embedded Task Force listen as Zoran Konjanovski, the Macedonian minister of defense, gives a speech during a ceremony held to welcome the task force to Afghanistan, April 5, 2010. The Macedonian soldiers on the embedded training team will serve with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based out of Vermont. Macedonia and Vermont have had a partnership program since 1993, but this is the first time that they have served together in a combat zone.
Zoran Konjanovski, the Macedonian minister of defense, shakes the hand of a soldier serving in the Macedonian Embedded Task Force and presents him with a medal during a ceremony welcoming the task force to Afghanistan, April 5, 2010. The Macedonian soldiers on the embedded training team will serve with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based out of Vermont. Macedonia and Vermont have had a partnership program since 1993, but this is the first time that they have served together in a combat zone.
Adjutant General's Message

Like you, I've been watching the situation in Afghanistan over the past 48 hours. If you deployed to Afghanistan, you may feel right now like you've somehow 'failed.' I want to assure you that nothing is further from the truth. The Vermonters who deployed to Afghanistan served with honor and distinction: our military members execute the mission they are given, no matter how challenging. You did your job and no one will ever take that away from you.

For our Service Members who gave their lives in Afghanistan, and those impacted over the 20 years of our time there, please continue to hold them and their families in our hearts.

If you or someone you know is struggling, I encourage you to reach out. Talk to me directly; talk to a mental health specialist, a battle buddy, a commander, or a first sergeant. We have resources available to you at www.vtguard.com/suicide-prevention.

Here are just a few stories of our work from 2010, if you would like to take a moment to remember with me:

Vermont Guard Soldiers jump right into their mission
Gov. Douglas visits troops, raises Vermont battle flag
Vermont National Guard unit creates relationship with school in Kabul
Vermont Guard unit adjusts to changing mission

Stay in the arena. You make a difference.