Guam – Nine Soldiers from the Guam Army National Guard Security Forces Advisory Team (SFAT) returned home last night, while another is flying in tonight, [Sunday] following completion of the unit’s deployment in Afghanistan.
The team of 13 Soldiers left island in July last year and arrived in Afghanistan in October. They served as part of the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s (Hawaii Army National Guard) contingent of 20 SFATs. An SFAT is typically a 12-person team.
The last three members of the team are slated to return later next month.
[Soldiers with the GUARNG SFAT unit are met soon after they deplaned at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport by Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio and spouse Atty. Naoko Shimizu, along with senior leaders of the Guam Guard. The team returned from their deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (GUNG Photo by CPT Ken Ola)]
Major General Benny M. Paulino, The Adjutant General for the Guam National Guard, said the entire Guam Guard family is delighted to welcome the team home.
“The last few weeks have been tough for our Soldiers, Airmen and families with the loss of our own. But we certainly welcome the safe return of our SFAT team which has done an incredible job with their assigned mission in Afghanistan. They had a unique mission that carried its own set of risks, considering how they had to work closely with local Afghan forces,” said Maj. Gen. Paulino.
SFATs were tasked with mentoring and teaching their Afghan national partners in the areas of intelligence, communications, fire support, logistics, and infantry tactics. Their overall goal was to help improve security for Afghan civilians by working to train and improve their indigenous security forces. Each SFAT also observed and reported on the abilities of the new security forces. The SFAT Soldiers worked with their Afghan counterparts to develop understanding of the rule of law and human rights.
CPT Vincent Guerrero, a member of the SFAT, is surrounded by family members after the team returned home last night from their deployment to Afghanistan. (GUNG Photo by CPT Ken Ola)
The Guam SFAT worked with the Afghan National Civil Order Police. The GUARNG SFAT team was one of two Guam Army Guard units mobilized and deployed over the last year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Close to 600 Soldiers from Guam and the CNMI of the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment are currently assigned to various parts of Afghanistan, conducting a variety of security missions.
[SSG Joseph Aquino, a member of the SFAT, is surrounded by family members after the team returned home last night from their deployment to Afghanistan. (GUNG Photo by CPT Ken Ola)]