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131st Security Forces Squadron member returns from deployment to Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Shannon Radford, 131st Security Forces Squadron member, recently returned from a year-long Agriculture deployment with the Army National Guard. (courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Shannon Radford, 131st Security Forces Squadron member, recently returned from a year-long Agriculture deployment with the Army National Guard. (courtesy photo)

Lambert IAP -- Staff Sgt. Shannon Radford, 131st Security Forces Squadron member, recently returned from a year -long Agricultural deployment to Nangrahar providence, Afghanistan working as a convoy security escort with the Army National Guard.

"Our primary focus was to enhance living conditions for the Afghani people," said Sergeant Radford. "We provided guidance and funding, built solar wells for irrigation, built slaughter houses for them so they wouldn't have to butcher their meat in the streets, built a veterinary clinic and provided the university there with books."

Master Sgt. Lisa Sutton, 131st SFS superintendent, explained, this deployment was the first time Air National Guard members have gone on this mission to the Nangrahar providence and Sergeant Radford was the only member from St. Louis to go, along with a couple of Security Forces members from St. Joseph.

To be ready for the deployment, Sergeant Radford had to go through two months worth of Army training, said Sergeant Sutton.

"They went to Camp Crowder in Missouri for a month basically doing Army combat skills, then they went to Camp Atterbury in Indianapolis and went through mission specific training with the Army like how to fire heavy weapons and learn more on convoy, as well as escort duties," added Sergeant Sutton.

Sergeant Radford explained, this was his first deployment working with the Army and realized first hand that they do things differently than the Air National Guard.

"Whenever Air and Army mix together, you have different mentalities and differences in how they operate," said Sergeant Sutton. "But he was very positive about the mission over there."

Sgt. Maj. James Walter, Army National Guard Mo. Agri-Business Development Team, said, Sergeant Radford was one of his top five convoy commanders and planned many of the missions while deployed to this location.

"He is an NCO that once given a task, you don't have to worry about it anymore," said Sergeant Major Walter. "It has been a privilege to have him on my team."