Sixteen Guard members headed to Afghanistan

10/25/06 12:00AM By Lynne McCrea
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(Host) 16 Members of the Vermont National Guard are heading to Afghanistan.

The soldiers will provide training to the Afghan National Army.

VPR's Lynne McCrea reports:

(McCrea) It was a special unit of soldiers at the deployment ceremony at Camp Johnson. They were brought together from many different Guard units throughout the state, based on their specialties. Colonel Raymond Bouchard is the commander of the team.

(Bouchard) "Specialties may be for their artillery experience, infantry, armor, medical, some aviation experience."

(McCrea) Bouchard says the idea is to mentor and coach the senior staff in Afghanistan. The soldiers will help them work as a combined arms unit.

(Bouchard) "This group will fall in on an Afghanistan National Army unit, and we will train, coach and mentor that Afghan group, to be able to provide their own security- their own defense and operate as an independent element as opposed to some practices done in the past when they're under, like, a war-lord tribal system "

(McCrea) The unit will train first at Fort Riley in Kansas for about three months, and expects to be in Afghanistan for about a year.

For Vermont Public Radio, I'm Lynne McCrea.
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