10/19/08: Soldiers of NJ ARNG ETT honored at the Welcome Home Ceremony at Fort Dix, NJ.
NJ ARNG ETT Unit Afghanistan
MAJ Jamal B. LTC John L. CPT Jimmy T. MAJ Jeffrey W.
On Sunday, October 19, 2008, a Welcome Home Ceremony and Freedom Salute was held at Fort Dix to honor the 16-soldier NJ ARNG ETT. The New Jersey Embedded Training Team distinguished itself through exceptionally meritorious service while deployed in Afghanistan from December 19, 2007, through September 14, 2008.
We are proud to have supported the Embedded Training Team. The ETT mission performed by the New Jersey team provided experienced US Army mentors and advisors to the Afghan National Army (ANA) in an effort to build a professional army for the country of Afghanistan. These Soldiers lived and travelled with their Afghan counterparts as they advised, mentored, and coached army leaders and soldiers in tactical and technical subjects. The one-year deployment was part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The unit is historically linked to an all African American Infantry unit disbanded decades ago in the NJARNG. They have proudly adopted the nickname "Red Hand" and are all engaged in military support to the Afghan National Security Forces at a variety of locations within the country.
These 16 New Jersey Army National Guard Soldiers follow in the very large footsteps of 20 NJNG troops that returned on February 23, 2007. Those Jersey Citizen-Soldiers saw combat action while conducting presence patrols and mentoring ANA soldiers during searches of suspected Taliban buildings.
ETTs worked at all levels of command ... from Company through Corps levels. Team members lived with the ANA soldiers as well ... performing patrols, manning vehicle checkpoints, and conducting combat operations. In each case, our Jersey guardsmen on the ETT stood side by side with their ANA counterparts ... continuing their job to mentor and advise.
ETTs also participated in the execution of the Commander's Emergency Response Program, a program designed to address urgent, small-scale relief and reconstruction projects. These projects often included repairing schools, building dams, fixing roads, improving medical clinics, and digging wells for small villages across Afghanistan.
The current ETT was designated and given the historical guidon (military unit flag) of Company A 1st Separate Battalion. Formed in 1931 as an all African-American unit, the original members responded to the 1934 S.S. Morro Castle disaster. Braving a dangerously fierce storm, they conducted rescue and recovery operations.
MAJ Jemal B. holds up "thank you so much" sign for all the kind folks supporting the NJ ARNG in Afghanistan. These groups include Paragon FCU (Xbox); Hillcrest School of Somerset, NJ (cartons of goodies); Palisades Country Day School of Closter, NJ (cartons of goodies); MetLife Associates of Westport, CT; and Garfield, NJ AARP.