Georgia ADT maintains traditional form of transportation - donkeys
Despite touting the most technologically advanced military in the world, the unforgiving terrain of Afghanistan forced the U.S. Army to employ a more traditional means of cargo transport - donkeys.
In a recent mission to Combat Outpost Baraki Barak, soldiers from the Georgia Agribusiness Development Team provided care for the rugged four-legged soldiers of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force Patriot, June 21.
“If the donkeys aren’t in great shape, they’re unable to accomplish the mission the Army has tasked them with,” said U.S. Army Maj. George McCommon, the Georgia ADT’s veterinarian and a horse vet by trade from Macon, Ga. “Their hooves must be in good condition in order to handle the rocky, mountainous terrain.”
While the team was in Baraki Barak, they provided the Army donkeys with routine preventive care, including specialized hoof care.
For these unsung quadruped heroes of TF Patriot, moving through the mountains is just another day in the life of a donkey in the Army. McCommon said donkeys serve a critical role for coalition forces in the mountainous terrain. They carry mission-essential equipment and supplies for soldiers.
“Not only do Army donkeys provide a logistical function, they are an example to the Afghan people of appropriate and humane animal care,” said McCommon.
The Georgia ADT veterinary team shared their special knowledge with Afghan officials to help improve animal care in the area.
U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Lynward Hall, the Georgia ADT non-commissioned officer-in-charge, said working on the animals in the middle of a combat zone was a unique experience.
“It was an unexpected mission for me,” said Hall, a native of Statesboro, Ga. “Back home, [we] have many cows and goats, so caring for large animals is nothing new to me.”
While the team was in Baraki Barak, they surveyed a demonstration farm with the district sub-governor. The South Carolina ADT initiated the project while deployed here two years ago, said Hall.
McCommon and Hall said they were able to elevate the donkeys to a superior health status and further promote the Georgia ADT’s mission.
“The many friends we made, both Afghan and American, will prove invaluable as we initiate agricultural projects in the Logar province,” said McCommon.
Article by Combined Joint Task Force 1