Cowboys Sent To Afghanistan By U.S. Military To Teach Agriculture: If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifices they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live. Tune in now to hear this very special story.

Air Date: 09/11/2019

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We always look at those topics from a particular perspective. Everybody’s got a bias or a paradigm when they look at issues in the culture. 

Well, I’ll tell you right up front we have a bias: we have a paradigm that we used to look at issues. We call it looking at things from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective. 

Always Seek Truth

We think that’s the right perspective. You may not agree with that, but hopefully, you’re willing to listen to the program anyway and still hear our perspective on it to seek truth. I tell my kids all the time, don’t just win arguments seek truth. That’s what we’re doing here at WallBuilders.

The place we go to for that truth is that biblical perspective. 

What does God’s manual, his instruction manual to us as a people, say about how to live together? How to have a society? How should government work? 

That historical Perspective Is Vital

All of those things we talk about here on the program and from a historical perspective. 

It’s so important to look back at what’s happened, and look at what works or doesn’t work. 

Remind yourself what it took to get to the point that we are. 

What was the price of the freedom that we enjoy today? That historical perspective is vital. 

Then, of course, the constitutional perspective is a chance to actually look at the foundation of America, our particular political and economic structures, and ask how does this thing actually work and how do I plug into it? 

So Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. That’s our bias here on WallBuilders Live. 

David Barton America’s Premier Historian

My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator. I’m here with David Barton. David is America’s premier historian. I think you probably read more of the Founding Fathers’ documents than anyone in America, certainly that’s alive today. 

It’s almost like he knows the Founding Fathers because he’s so been so absorbed in studying what they actually said and did. 

Not only what they wrote or said publicly, but what they wrote in private letters and all those things. 

The WallBuilders library is the largest private collection of founding fathers documents in the world over 100,000 documents. 

Both David and Tim Barton have been diving into these things for literally decades, and they bring them to life for us right here on the program. 

So thrilled to be here with David.

Tim Barton is a national speaker, and pastor. He is the president of WallBuilders and just thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to interact with these guys and do the interviews that we get to do here on the program. 

Veteran Interview Today

David, Tim, we get the chance to do one of our veteran interviews today. I love doing these. I don’t think David’s ever said before a veteran interview; this reminds me of an old Disney movie. 

Maybe you did, and I don’t remember it.

Tim:

I don’t think I’ve ever heard that either. It’s kind of a weird connection. So I’m a little curious: what is this like? Aladdin? Lady and the Tramp? What Disney movie? The fox in the House? With this veteran’s story, what movie did it remind you of?

The Cast Away Cowboy

David:

I’ve got to say you did the right direction, but that was backward. I found it interesting that in the last few weeks, I’ve seen several cable channels running old Disney movies. 

Stuff that hasn’t been seen in a long time. That’s what I was thinking of it as we’re going to this interview today.  

The story reminds me of the Disney movie that was called The Cast Away Cowboy. It was from James Garner. It was a movie back in the 1970s. I think it was a 1974 movie and James Garner is this Texas cowboy. He’s out at sea. He gets shipwrecked, and this 12-year-old Hawaiian boy finds him, saves him and they get onto some old island. 

Here he is a Texas cowboy in a very different culture; it’s more of the laid back island culture. He gets there and finds that they’ve got ranches. 

But did they do things differently! He teaches them how to be cowboys. It’s just a hilarious movie. 

It Was A Clash Of Cultures For Sure

I mean it was a clash of cultures for sure. 

So, when I heard about the interview today, I thought that’s what it is. 

What we’ve got is a cowboy, a Colorado cowboy, who gets into the military and is then sent to Afghanistan to teach them how to do agriculture in Afghanistan. 

That was fascinating. 

When you think of American cowboys, particularly today, we are well-organized, we’ve got larger ranches, we got a lot of equipment – a lot of stuff. 

We have very reliable vets and feed stores, and you go places. Now, when you get into Afghanistan with a nomadic people: they’re moving all the time. They don’t have herds as we do, and they sure don’t have vets as we do. They’re so different. 

I thought this was going to be an interesting story of a clash of cultures.

This Is Just One Of His Deployments

Tim:

And this was just one of his deployments because he had multiple deployments. 

It turns out he didn’t do all the deployments by himself at least not in the sense of without some people he knew. Obviously, it’s not just his other military buddy; usually, it was people he met during basic. He actually wants a basic in a rather unusual time as compared to when most people go to basic. 

He Asked Us Not To Use His Name

So, there is a lot of fun aspects of his story, but he also asked us not to use his name. We’ve known many military guys, and a lot of times they don’t want to tell all of the stories and all of the details. There could be many reasons for not rehashing some of that. 

We’ve known military guys that when they came back, they didn’t want anybody to know where they had been. They didn’t want their story to be known or their names to be known because of connections, or associations they had made.

We definitely understand some of that background, and we have decided to respect his decision. 

We’re not going to use his name at all. But it’s someone who was a part of some of the more recent endeavors over in Iraq, and Afghanistan: of this enduring freedom operation that has been going on that looks like it’s wrapping up now. 

It is a really incredible story coming up on this veteran interview. 

Rick:

Stay with us folks you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

Front Sight Handgun Training Course

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And you can go with us! We’re headed back out. We’re going to have a great time out there as the WallBuilders family, and if you’re a supporter of WallBuilders, we have an amazing deal for you. It’s actually going to cost you 1/10th the normal price to attend this two-day handgun training because you’re going with us. And, you’ll also get the Constitution crash course. I’ll be teaching on the Constitution. You’ll get the intellectual ammunition that you need to defend the Second Amendment and our Constitution. As well as getting the physical training on how to defend yourself and your family.  

And, this is for everyone – guys, gals, everyone should take this class. No matter how much you’ve shot your whole life or if you’ve never touched a gun, learn how to defend your family. We’re going to be going several times throughout the year, and we would love to have you be a part of that. Check it out at RickGreen.com today to find out the dates, get all the specifics, and get all of your questions answered. Check out RickGreen.com today to join us on this Front Sight trip for both your constitutional and handgun defense training. 

Veteran Interview

David:

Welcome back. This is David Barton. 

We’re gonna get the opportunity to talk to one of our Afghanistan veterans. Thank you very much for taking this time, we appreciate you being with us. 

Veteran:

Thank you, sir. Good to be here with you.

David:

Now, this is kind of a fun story because with your background growing up as a cowboy down in that central kind of Southwest area. How in the world did you end up going to Afghanistan, and being deployed there from the situation where you grew up?

Veteran:

It’s kind of a long story. When I got out of high school, I felt like I should serve in the military, but there really wasn’t anything going on at that time. 

I wanted to ride horses and chase cows for work that one was out. There was not a lot going on in the world back in 1984.

 Anyway, after twenty-five years or so of being a cowboy, that was after the events of 9/11, I stop and ask myself: what have you done? What are you going to tell your grandchildren? 

I can’t stand it any longer, and I had to get in the service now.

I Was 39 Years-Old

David:

How old were you at that point?

Veteran:

I was actually 39 years old. I joined when I was 39 and turned 40 years old in basic training.

David:

Being a cowboy, you must have stayed in pretty good shape running cattle horses, and everything else. But how big a shock was that to your system to go into basic training, being 40 years old?

It’s Pretty Humbling

Veteran:

Well, it’s pretty humbling because there’s a lot of smart, tough young guys, and gals. I was surprised by how tough I was. Cowboys that are broken: they’re still tougher than a lot of America’s youth today.

David:

Yeah, that’s right. Hard work that’d do it to you.

So you go through basic, if you went in right after 9/11, then the first stuff is to Iraq. Were you part of any deployments over to Iraq? What were you doing at that point?

Veteran:

Yeah, I actually I got in the mid-2000s. They had a surge of naming people in Iraq, and the cut off age is typically thirty-six years old. They upped it to 40. 

I told my wife it’s either I join now. She says, well you need to join now, or I don’t want to hear more about it. So that’s what I did. 

I Did Two Tours – Iraq And Afghanistan

David:

I love it. I went to Iraq and did a tour there. 

After I was there for a year and a half, I did a tour in Afghanistan.

David:

Wow, tour in both places. 

Veteran:

Yeah. 

What’s The Difference In Deployment Between The Two?

David:

What’s the difference? Just for folks who’ve never been there, what’s the difference in deployment between the two?

Veteran:

Well, for me, the difference in deployments for myself was that it was two different missions. 

While on my first mission, I was in the typical military army stuff. Force protection and convoy security and those kinds of jobs. (I was) On the road protecting convoys, and all that kind of good stuff.

But the difference was on my Afghanistan mission; I was part of an agricultural business development team, which I had to apply for. 

It was a small group of basically hand-picked soldiers from Kansas. We went over there and taught the Afghan people sustainable agriculture.

David:

Really? 

Veteran:

Yeah. 

David: 

I mean our farmers and ranchers are only one percent of America’s GDP, but we’re the third-highest producing agricultural country in the world: just with that one percent. 

So, what’s it like to get into farm and ranch and life in Afghanistan? I mean, that’s got to be a huge difference.

What’s It Like To Get Into Farm And Ranch Life In Afghanistan?

Veteran:

We did a lot of training and prep time with different universities and major universities. We were all former farm and ranch people that were on the Ag team. We did all this train up.

We went over there with the grand idea: we’re going to teach them American agriculture, but as it turned out well just think back a hundred years ago: that’s what you are walking into farmers handling of oxen.

David:

Wow.

Veteran:

The whole logistic scheme of things is a lot different.

They about djerbs and half djeribs, and we talk and acres and sections and corner sections and a lot of difference.

We Adapt, And We Overcome

David:

Yeah, I guess so all that training you had a university-level didn’t prepare you for oxen and mules and handtools then?

Veteran:

Oh, it did that. Yes and no. You know, cowboys we have for life. We grow America with you, and that’s also the nature of the U.S. military: we adapt, and we overcome.

David:

That’s going to be a surprise for a lot of folks to hear that part of the official mission in Afghanistan was agricultural.

Folks think of bullets flying and etc. How did the agricultural side fit into the overall military objective plan for what’s going on in Afghanistan and ISIS and terrorists, etc.?

Was It Hard To Breakthrough On Your Part?

Veteran:

OK. The military objective is a COIN operation; win hearts, win minds.

So, although we’re fighting, we’re also helping them rebuild their infrastructure so they can live and be sustainable when we leave.

David:

So with the average farmer in Afghanistan, did you find problems them with divided loyalties? Are they open to you as Americans because obviously you’re seen as the enemy in many ways, is there more connection to the Islamic terrorists than there was, do you guys? Was that the hard front to break through on your part?

Veteran:

Yeah, it is a bit challenging. We have a Bob in one and cob in another.

A Bob is a forward operating base, a cob in a manned outpost. 

A lot of time, when we travel to remote locations where these guys are getting their butts shot off every day.  

They are, like welcome. They’ll make friends with these guys, and it’ll pressure off of us. Afghanistan is still a wild wild west as far as everything combat, alive and well as it was in Iraq, but there is a lot of other good things going on there too.

Two Generations Served The Same Time

David:

I heard that you ended up actually serving with your son as well, is that right? Two generations served the same time over there?

Veteran:

That’s right. My son has been to Afghanistan twice now. When he was on his first mission, and my mission to Afghanistan, we were together. 

He’s actually infantry. He was on a DSD team.

Those guys would always set up a parameter for us to work inside of. We were always right in the middle of the Afghan people. 

So, we had to have somebody watch our back as well as you have to watch yourself. You don’t just walk out wild and go this stuff. It’s always a big deal. You have to plan your mission. You have to plan all of your security and operate within that bubble of protection. 

When you’re always meeting people, and (you have) people all around you from different angles; all your training comes into play because anybody can walk up as many guys and blow you up. 

David: 

I know army guys are really mission-oriented.

While you’re out there, you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. Do you think it was more strange for him to have his dad served with him or for you to have a son serving? Or did it even cross your mind that way? Did you ever see it from that family side?

Veteran:

I think I look at it from a unique standpoint.

People always ask my wife and myself: why do you feel about your son serving in the military? 

My unique point of view is goodness gracious; I would be more unhappy if they had to lose their lives in the line of duty doing something of value versus getting killed in a car crash by a drunk driver or something.  

At least there you’re doing something, and at least you can fight back. 

So, I find a lot of value in that versus the alternative, just a senseless death.

From Your Time In Afghanistan, Did You See Good Success?

David:

So did you find what you did with the Afghan people on the agricultural side make much ground or progress? Or is it a matter of they just don’t have the technology to be able to do what they need to do? 

Can you really change a thousand years of training in the time you had with them, did you see good success?

Veteran:

Well actually it was a strategy; they sent over several teams. Each state had its own team. Several states participate together, and they sent either one to five teams over five consecutive years into the different provinces. 

 We ended up working along with the Ministry of Agriculture in the Dail and all the different people. I personally worked with the nomads.

I covered a lot of areas and a lot of livestock. I was the large animal expert for the team. Being a cowboy somehow equates into that, but I’ve done it for a lot of years, so I am knowledgeable.

There Were Highs And Lows

There was highs and lows when working with people. We worked with a lot of the different ministries of agriculture. We worked closely with the PR team of USAID to do different things. 

Those are three different entities that spend money trying to rebuild infrastructure. We’ve got to see a lot of cool stuff. When I first got, I also go to see the waste. 

A lot of people spending money to build their resumes. This is how you’re spending our U.S. tax dollar. 

So that’s one thing we observed early on. So, what are we going to do that’s actually sustainable?

What Are We Going To Do That’s Actually Sustainable?

What we ended up doing was an intern program training certain SDM people and into a lot of places would never-never land where we couldn’t go a lot of forces. Now that seems to be a workable situation.

David:

How do you handle the language barrier?

Language Was Definitely A Challenge

Veteran:

We should use differ linguists or interpreters. We had five on our team. We would always roll out with a couple. That’s definitely a challenge, but we had really good guys, and we could divert stuff into documents as well as briefs.

But there is always a challenge of translating exactly what we’re saying — getting the whole idea of what you’re trying to say over. That was always definitely a challenge.

David:

I got to ask, from the cowboy standpoint in me, thinking about this with nomads and their horses: did you ever have the opportunity to do the American thing on a horse with a rope within either large livestock? Was that something they’d just never seen before?

Did You Ever Have The Opportunity To Do The American Thing On A Horse With A Rope?

Veteran:

It was tempting. 

I got close to a couple of horses once, of course, they kept walking.

It’s not cattle and horses like you’d think in American. It’s mostly goat and sheep out with the Nomads. 

If you’re not close to the river or up the mountain, there’s not enough force to sustain cattle a lot. So it’s a lot of goat and sheep that can survive on a little bit, but that’s the nomads.

 They go from the high country to the low country since also all seasons of the year. But I definitely had my ropes, and a couple of buddies back at camp we kept ourself entertained.

David:

That’s great 

Veteran:

We did work closely with the veterinarians. I had a veterinarian and actual veterinarian, and USDA representative that worked closely with me as well. 

We Implemented Vaccination Strategies

We implemented vaccination strategies and actually went out and talked to people and worked through their local veterinarians to try to improve their systems because disease and everything are alive and well. They are not like here in the United States.

That also poses challenges to proper handling, availability, and all that. 

We’re so blessed here in the United States with our infrastructure. That’s the shame with the underdeveloped countries; they don’t have the infrastructure that we take for granted. 

You know the average person daily wage is 2 to 6 to the dollars a day.

Most Of This Is for Sustainable Living

Veteran:

So you’re talking about either rich or poor. Most of this is for sustainable living. Yeah, I have a cow and chickens to feed my family. Yeah, that’s kind of agriculture over there.

We Appreciate Your Service

David:

What a difference. 

We appreciate you and your service. 

I know you you’re under fire in that first deployment, and I heard that you had a bronze star for bravery there. So, thank you for what you did there. 

But thank you also for trying to educate folks, and get them to a different way of seeing things – a different way of life. 

I mean, it’s a different aspect. It’s a long-term solution, maybe. 

We thank you a whole lot for your willingness to jump into the military when you’re 40 years old — your willingness to serve the country, to serve the rest of us. You’ve raised your kids in such a way that they’re doing the same thing. 

So, we thank you much, and we will pray for you, your family, and for your safety. We appreciate what you sacrificed for the rest of us. 

Thank you much.

Veteran:

Oh, thank you. I just want to say thank you to all the rest of the military brothers, and sisters whatever your branch service. Each and every job is important, and I thank you for your service.

David:

Thank you, brother. Thanks for taking the time. God bless you. You have a good day.

We Want To Hear Your Vet Story

Rick:

Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live. Once in a while, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people. 

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live. 

You have friends and family that also served. If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at [email protected] Give us a brief summary of the story, and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!

Rick:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live.

David, Tim, you guys get to work together as a father-son team kind of business and ministry. 

I got to work with my dad for years in business. My boys are now working. I love it. I think father-son being able to work and business together in our ministries a really awesome thing. 

This is taking it to a whole nother level – actually to be in a war together.

It Is Still A War Zone

David:

Yeah. This is where the son can say, I’ve got your back, Dad, and really mean it. 

He’s got the gut out there; he’s got coverage. 

I thought what the father said was really interesting. This is the kind of stuff I imagined that it might be. He said Afghanistan is still the Wild Wild West.  

He said they are still plowing with oxen and using hand tools. Just communicating and trying to train them, but you know what really struck me? 

I pointed out that one of the biggest problems we have with Afghanistan: it that’s been a war zone for a thousand years. It doesn’t matter if it’s with the Russians or the Americans or Iran or anybody else. It’s a war zone because you have to retrain their thinking. 

So going and showing them how to do agriculture, and how to learn new traits: that’s really part of a long-term solution. I was really pleased to see that going on. 

I wasn’t even aware this kind of stuff was even happening.

It Sounds More Like A Mission Trip

Tim:

It was interesting, and it’s certainly not the exposure that we oftentimes hear from news outlets: that we’re doing things to try to help bring stability to the region. In the sense of showing them how to be producers where they are, and how to be more effective producers. 

How you can grow crops, and how you can work with animals.

Who would have thought that this cowboy is going to go in wartime, and not go to war per se but going to help train?

It sounds almost more like a mission trip to me than it does military.

He Is Setting The Tone To Leave A Legacy

When he said he’s 39 years old, and he’s going to boot camp, I remember being a much younger athlete. 

I’m almost 37 now. But I remember in college I did running, cross-country then I did track for a year and basketball. I played in different sports, and I was in really good shape. Looking at myself now, I would struggle so bad to do basic pushups, to run. I’m not even 39 yet. 

There’s so much respect that he cared enough about the country to say I want to do something for America. I care so much to give back that I’m not gonna let my age slow me down.

Not only does he get involved, but he has also multiple deployments, doing so many cool things, and family. His son now is kind of following after him. 

He really is setting the tone for leaving an incredible legacy. 

This is really one of the things that we have long admired about the American spirit is: him having to figure out new ways to do things over there. You’re a cowboy, you figure it out or the army. They teach us to adapt and overcome. 

This Is The American Spirit

Well, this has really been the American spirit. The American idea is: we’re going to do what needs to be done. We’re going to get involved. We’re gonna roll up our sleeves. I’m not going to wait for somebody else to solve these problems. I’m going to do my part, and this is exactly what we celebrate with so many of our veterans. 

Especially with this fun story is somebody who says I’m going to roll up my sleeves. I’m going to get involved, and I’m going to make a difference.

 Which is really the challenge we try to give to people every single day listening to this show. 

Let’s find the ways we can roll up our sleeves, and get involved and make a difference.

Rick:

Well, all of these veterans stories are inspiring. We have many more of them on our website at Wallbuilderslive.com. We also have a CD of some of the best programs available as well if you go to WallBuilders.com. We’ll have a quick link over to that one as well.

It’s a great way to honor those who came before us and fought for our freedom. 

Those that are fighting for us right now all over the world, and a good reminder to all of us as citizens that freedom is not free. 

Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.