METTER, GA (WTOC) - All 57 members of the 265th Regional Support Group who deployed to Afghanistan last year walked back through the door of the National Guard Armory in Metter. That was the most important mission, according to their commander.
"I promised you family members I would bring them home," said Colonel Craig McGalliard to the loved ones waiting Saturday morning. "And we're here."
The unit was part of the Georgia guard's Agricubusiness Development Team, or ADT. With a team of civilian agriculture specialists, they helped Afghan farmers develop their crops to be more productive.
"Our mission was to teach them ways to make money and be more independent for when the United States pulls out in 2014," explained Staff SGT Brian Felker.
"It was tough love at first because many of them still handed handouts. But we worked with them to do more on their own and be able to feed more of their own people.
An estimated 80 percent of the country's economy is agriculture-based. Colonel McGalliard stated at the ceremony the unit had completed 21 watershed restoration projects worth an estimated $3.7 million
During the deployment, the Guardsmen earned :15 Bronze Star Medals, 36 Army Commendation Medals, and 2 DA Commander's Award for Civilian Service Medals as well as several unit awards.