Nov. 4, 2010

29th Division ADAB says farewell during ceremony 

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs     

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Friends and family said farewell to Soldiers of the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division  during a deployment ceremony Nov. 3  for the 44 Virginia Guardsmen heading to Afghanistan to assist Afghan National Army and Police. The Virginia Soldiers will be joined by 28 Maryland Guard Soldiers, also from the 29th Division on the mission as part of the Afghan Development Assistance Bureau.

 

Forty-four Virginia Guard Soldiers from the 29th Infantry Division prepare to leave for Afghanistan Nov. 3 at Fort Belvoir. The 44 Virginia Guard Soldiers will link up with 28 other 29th ID Soldiers from Maryland at Camp Atterbury, Ind., where they will train for several weeks before deploying to Afghanistan. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

The ceremony took place on the parade field outside the division headquarters and was attended by senior leaders of the Virginia Guard as well as several former commanders of the 29th, including current Adjutant General of Virginia Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long,  Jr., retired Maj. Gen. Grant L. Hayden and retired Maj. Gen. Tommy Thompson. The Soldiers stood in formation before their loved ones and the senior leaders while the adjutant general and Maj. Gen. Frank E. Batts, Jr., the current division commander, addressed the troops and thanked them for their willingness to answer the nation’s call to arms.

“I envy these young Soldiers here - they are part of the greatest army, the best lead, best equipped, best trained army in the world today and I'm really proud of them,” said Long. “I envy them because they are going to get a chance to do what they raised their hand and swore to do when they said ‘I solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.’”

Batts, who will not be leading the Soldiers on the mission, noted the vast amount of leadership and experience the unit will be providing during the deployment.  “Although I am not allowed to deploy with this fine team, I am confident in knowing that the 29th Infantry Division is providing the very best in terms of leadership to this unit,” he said.

“I'm also confident in knowing that you, this entire ADAB team, is made up of the very best and brightest that the 29th Infantry Division, the commonwealth of Virginia, and the state of Maryland have to offer," said Batts. “ADAB team members, I thank each and every one of you for living up to the promise you made when you began your military career; that you would willingly answer the call to serve your nation when called, regardless of the personal sacrifice that you must make.”

 

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, speaks at the Nov. 3 departure ceremony at Fort Belvoir for 44 Virginia Guard Soldiers heading to Afghanistan. Once in Afghanistan, the Soldiers will be part of the Afghan Development Assistance Bureau, and they will provide subject matter expertise and conduct training and assessment of Afghan Police and Military personnel. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

The team members will spend several weeks training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., where they will conduct Category II collective training to prepare them as a staff for the missions as part of the ADAB. During their training, they will be working with their counterparts in Afghanistan leading up to a final culminating exercise that will simulate their mission once they are in theater. The commander assured the Soldiers that their loved ones would be taken care of in their absence through support systems, such as the Family Readiness Groups.

“Rest assured in knowing that your loved ones will receive the very best possible training, equipment and support as they embark on this mission,” Batts said. “Also rest assured, that as part of the 29th Infantry family, you will also receive the very best service that the Virginia National Guard and the U.S. Army can provide you as you endure this year without your loved ones.”

The ADAB team will fall under the command and control of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. The IJC was assembled in 2009 and reached full operational command status the same year. The command is currently led by Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez.

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