Photo by Ileen Kennedy
Commander, Maj. Tyler Smith gives
final instructions to the ETT Soldiers before
boarding the bus leaving for the Salt Lake
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.
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
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
“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