By Senior Airman Ian Caple
189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Little Rock Air Force Base – Tech. Sgt. Will Earnhart, a ground radio communication craftsman at the 189th Communications Flight, was awarded the Bronze Star for his work in Afghanistan in 2011.
Earnhart deployed with the Arkansas Agricultural Development Team II to Southern Afghanistan in the Zabul Province, one of the poorest provinces in the country. He acted as an agricultural and business extension agent in cooperation with the Director of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock.
The DAIL worked directly for the Provincial Governor of Afghanistan to improve agriculture in Afghanistan.
“Tech. Sgt. Earnhart did a great job on the Agricultural Development Team and represented the Arkansas National Guard in a superior manner,” said Col. Steve Eggensperger, 189th Airlift Wing commander. “I’m proud of his accomplishments, and I’m very happy to see him receive this prestigious award.”
He also conducted several training seminars for small farmers in various districts around the province.
These seminars covered orchard and pasture management, wheat and garden crops, irrigation and water management and soil improvement along with pest and disease management.
“We worked with the United States Department of Agriculture to develop irrigation levees and check dams to prevent erosion and preserve precious water resources,” Earnhart said.
The team developed a home garden project and provided training to farmers and villagers on planting and food preservation along with soil testing, fertilizing and mulching practices; they also worked with the small farmers and villagers to develop poultry production as a small-scale business for widows and orphans and for food supplementation.
Master Sgt. John Weston, 189th Civil Engineering Squadron, worked with Earnhart on planning and developing a demonstration farm owned and operated by the DAIL. On this farm they demonstrated the benefits of soil and water management both in an open environment and inside a large unheated greenhouse.
Earnhart was presented the Bronze Star in November of 2012.