Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team 4 says farewell to civilian agricultural specialist
Story by Staff Sgt. Paul Evans, KY ADT 4 Public Affairs NCO
NOTE: Each week kentuckyguard.com publishes stories by or about Kentucky National Guard unit public affairs historian representatives, also known as UPAHRs. This is an additional duty taken on by a Soldier or Airmen with the intent of telling their unit’s story. This is one such story ….
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan — April 23, 2012 served as a relatively quiet milestone for the Soldiers of Kentucky’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, as they said farewell to their last remaining civilian agricultural specialist from the previous team.
“I was able to learn from what I experienced with ADT 3 and I hopefully shared some of that information and lessons learned with ADT 4,” said Carl Linderman, a 59-year-old native of Myrtle Point, Ore. “Really for me, it’s been just a great experience working with the Kentucky National Guard. That’s what I’ve enjoyed the most.”
“Carl was very detail oriented,” recalled Maj. Jim Rush, a Bowling Green, Ky. native who serves as ADT 4’s Agriculture Team Chief. “He was able to bring over some of the project management side (experience) that he had from ADT 3 to 4.”
Linderman, a 34-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service who also farms in his personal time, served as an agricultural consultant on ADT 3. According to Linderman, a lot of his time was spent dealing with issues such as watershed management, or water sustainment techniques along with common agricultural issues.
“Carl was a very big asset,” Rush noted. “He brought a lot of thinking outside the box as far as trees and plants.”
“Through ADT 3, we kind of transitioned into Agricultural Business and things,” Linderman recalled. “That’s a big focus on ADT 4 now, doing agribusiness development and adding value to products that are already being grown here and making it self-sustaining into the future.”
With a one-year contract as a civilian agriculture advisor beginning in April 2011, Linderman says it took some convincing with the help of ADT 3 to keep him around for the first few months of ADT 4.
“I wanted to stay with the Kentucky National Guard, because I’ve enjoyed working with them a lot,” Linderman explained. “They’re a lot like a lot of folks I hang out with back in Oregon. I’m from a very small town in the southwest part of the state, a very rural area. I think people are more open and straight-forward. People are here to do a job, not to show off or anything like that.”
For his outlook on his experience in Afghanistan, Linderman had mixed emotions, offering a sobering but honest opinion.
“I wasn’t naive coming over here, but you’re always hopeful that there’ll be a more united effort by folks to try to improve their situation,” Linderman noted. “I guess about 25 percent of the folks I see and meet around here are really putting a lot on the line…their livelihoods and the safety of their families. I have a great, utmost respect for those folks.”
“In the future when we leave, they have a lot of risks,” Linderman observed. “I think a lot of the other people, I’m sorry they don’t want to step up to the plate, because if more of them were willing to, I think the situation would change a lot over here.”
Linderman said his views toward family have changed some over the course of his year in Afghanistan.
“You appreciate that so much more. Things that were important before aren’t nearly as important anymore,” he observed. “I think more than ever, you realize you can live with a lot less than what you used to back home. That’s been very much reinforced, and you appreciate the little things. Just walking, having the freedom to walk wherever you want to without having to suit up and jump on a convoy some place and plan it several days in advance. That freedom is to be cherished.”
Since one of his sons has previously served two combat tours in Iraq, Linderman was able to experience deployments from multiple perspectives.
“Just the daily living conditions are not the big deal. The bigger deal is being away from the home and loved ones,” Linderman said. “That, you really don’t appreciate till you’ve experienced it…sacrifices they make (being here) and the families at home make.”
“It was certainly tougher for me to be at home when my son was in Iraq than it is for me to be here, so I certainly appreciate the sacrifices the families back home make,” he added.
For the difference between the two teams, Linderman noted that they weren’t really comparable since ADT 4 was starting work in a new area.
“It’s a new mission. Kentucky ADT 3 came down here solely for the purpose of trying to get things set up for (ADT) 4,” Linderman recalled. “When I was up with Kentucky (ADT) 3, our whole emphasis was with what we call ‘transitioning’ from the programs that we had there over to the local nationals and making it their programs.”
“Everything that’s going on now is all brand new, developed by Kentucky ADT 4 and built on the past experiences of Kentucky (ADT) 1, 2, 3…we each build on what the other people learn,” Linderman said. “Kentucky ADT 4 is actually a product of all of the other ones. The difference is we’re in a different geographic location.”
ADT 4’s mission is the first of its type to teach agriculture and business development in the Kandahar Province of southern Afghanistan.
As for future plans, Linderman has a few things in mind for the long-term.
“I’ll be retiring two weeks after I get home. And that’ll be 35 years of federal service, if you will, and 34 with the U.S. Forest Service,” he said. “The rest of the time, I do a lot of woodworking and we have our farm, so those things keep me pretty busy,” he added.
“A couple of folks have already sat down with me. We built an itinerary that I’ve got for a tour of Kentucky,” Linderman noted. “My hope is that I get to do that not this summer, but the summer of 2013 when ADT 4’s home too, so I can visit folks from both teams.”
“I have kind of a loop through the state, along with stopping and visiting some of the folks that I’ve met from the two different ADTs along the route,” he added.
In the end, Linderman had just one more thing to offer.
“Just my wholehearted appreciation from being able to work with the folks from Kentucky ADT 3 and 4,” he concluded. “I’ll never forget it, and I’m really appreciative of them taking in a guy from Oregon and making me feel like a part of the group.”