Embedded Training Team

Departs for Afghanistan


By SSG Cavett Ishihara


Published March 17, 2008


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Photo by Ileen Kennedy

Commander, Maj. Tyler Smith gives final instructions to the ETT Soldiers before boarding the bus leaving for the Salt Lake International Airport.


DRAPER, Utah — Despite icy roads and temperatures in the teens, dozens of family members and friends gathered at Joint Forces Headquarters in Draper, Utah, on the morning of Jan., 23 to bid adieu to the Embedded Training Team.


While grasping yellow roses and Kleenex tissues, loved ones shed tears and held longing embraces as friends and fellow troops extended regards of a safe return and mission success to the unit of approximately 20 Soldiers, which officially began its 12-month deployment just a few days prior to the send off.


The ETT Soldiers know they can be successful due to the skills they will provide to the mission. 


“As members of the Utah Army National Guard, we will bring uniqueness to the mission,” said deploying CPT Bruce Roberts. “As citizen-Soldiers, we bring a wide variety of both military and civilian skills.”


Roberts also explained that many of the ETT Soldiers have deployed to a variety of countries prior to this mission, ranging from Iraq to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


In addition, the ETT has trained on several tasks and skills in preparation for this mission.  The training ranged from weapon systems and military tactics to Afghanistan’s language and culture. The effort of others towards their success is never far from these Soldiers’ minds.


Photo by Ileen Kennedy

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet wishes Capt. Bruce Roberts a safe mission.

As part of the Utah National Guard’s family culture, Roberts feels that family members sacrifice the most during deployments.


“Families always bear the deepest burden of deployment,” he said. “We are going to be busy with our mission, and our Family Support group will be back here supporting each other.”


The Family Support group helps maintain open lines of communication between troops and family members along with the Utah National Guard.  Family Support group leader Maurnie Smith explained that after being notified of mobilization, families often spend most of their energies on a Soldier’s readiness to mobilize and less time on what life will be like while their family is away on deployment. 


“We need to stay strong and support each other and be there for one another.” said Smith.


This type of support was evident as the Embedded Training Team loaded onto the bus. While some clapped and cheered, many wives waved goodbye with one hand while they wrapped their other arm around another in need of comfort. As the bus slowly drove out of the parking lot, Soldiers and Airmen alike rendered proud military salutes.  Others shed tears equal to such an honor.      


From Utah the ETT will travel to Fort Riley, Kan., for several weeks of specialized training before heading overseas. 


Once in country, the ETT will mentor the Afghan National Army to conduct sustained, independent counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan to assist the ANA to defeat terrorism within its borders.


The ETT will be responsible for training and mentoring the ANA in leadership, staff and support functions.  This includes the planning, assessing, supporting and executing of operations and training doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures.


“Our team has been conducting intensive training over the last four months specifically aimed at preparing us for this mission,” said ETT Commander MAJ Tyler Smith. “Some of that training includes studying the history, culture and customs of Afghanistan, the Dari language, convoy operations, military operations in urban terrain and weapons training.”