From the Frontlines: Capt. Jordan Clark

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."- Chinese Proverb

This is essentially what Capt. Jordan Clark, 1-135 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion AH-64 Apache pilot did during the 11 months he volunteered to deploy to Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He returned from his deployment in September. While deployed, Captain Clark was an agricultural specialist assigned to the Missouri Agribusiness Development Team 3.

Their mission was to create stability within Afghanistan through economic opportunity. Captain Clark said since 80 percent of the Afghan economy is based on agriculture, it was the most logical target to improve.

"I was primarily the animal veterinary specialist," he said. "I helped build slaughter facilities, administer the veterinary facilities, provided training and mentored students at the veterinary university and the Nangarhar University."

The ADT taught Afghans different farming and irrigation techniques to aid them in being more efficient with their techniques, time and supplies.

"Teaching and helping the Afghans gave us a chance to look at their livestock and for them to see us in a more assisting role," said Captain Clark. "The Afghans absolutely loved it."

He said they were there to help the Afghans rebuild their economy and to win their hearts and minds. By legitimately helping people, Captain Clark's unit was able to have the Afghans who were on the fence, without a complete devotion for a specific cause to side with them.

"We tried work with people who are not completely dedicated to one cause or another, who are just trying to find a way of life and feed their families and get them to our side," said Captain Clark. "They're just going with what pays, so we teach them how to fend for themselves."

The advantage that helped the ADT execute so many projects was that they had the civilian educators, but also the added security that allowed them to enter places and execute tasks other organizations couldn't accomplish.

Assisting with security was a joint force of Army and Air Force personnel.

"We were unique because we had 13 Air Force security forces members with us," said Captain Clark. "The guys were impressive. They did some things differently, but we all integrated well. They were incredibly proficient and spot on; I'd happily work with the Air Force in any combat situation any day of the week."

Captain Clark said having a common goal of accomplishing the mission while looking out for each other above all else was his favorite part of the deployment.

"Helping the Afghans was wonderful," said Captain Clark. "I think what we were doing mattered, but it's always our guys."

Even though he enjoyed his first deployment, he said he couldn't wait to come home to his wife and his two year-old daughter Abigail.

"It was an amazing deployment, but I missed them too much," said Captain Clark. "I wouldn't mind deploying again, but I don't think I will volunteer for it again."