Friday, May 24, 2013
JBER-Based 425th Bound for Afghanistan Deployment in November
In the last six years the brigade has been to both Iraq and Afghanistan, but this time commanders say there will be some important differences.
More than 3000 Alaska soldiers are getting set to spend a year in Afghanistan.
Members of the Army’s 425th based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage are getting set to deploy, and for many, this won’t be their first time. In the last six years the brigade has been to both Iraq and Afghanistan, but this time commanders say there will be some important differences.
For the first time the base is training a special group of female soldiers to deal specifically with women in Afghanistan. Traditionally, Afghanistan women are not allowed to interact with men; commanders say respecting the culture is critical.
“If you go over there and you don’t follow their culture you just push them away…you just divide them,” says Sgt. Major Terry Gardner. “But if they see you are making an effort to abide by their culture it kind of pulls them closer to us.”
It’s also the first time soldiers will be fighting alongside openly gay men and women now that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is officially done.
“Everybody gets treated as a human being,” says Brigade Commander Colonel Morris Goins. “We haven’t seen anything that says we may have a problem.”
The military says there is also a new push to help families back at home, as well as helping soldiers to integrate back into civilian life once they return.
The deployment is scheduled for late November. Before then, troops will be on a two-week leave called “block time” so they can spend time with family and friends before they have to go.