When Andrew Wexel left Georgia in February bound for a year-long mission in Afghanistan his mother Laurie felt a knot of anxiety.
This would be the first deployment for her 24-year-old son, and it was something he asked to do.
"I was wondering if the last time I saw his face on the bus at his send off would be the last time I saw him," she said.
A member of the security detail of the 265th Regional Support Group out of the National Guard Armory at Metter, Ga., Wexel headed to Afghanistan to teach sustainable farming practices to Afghan farmers, according to The Metter Advertiser.
Some 50 specialists went with him, including another Lilburn son, Bobby Clower. Same as Andrew Wexel, this is Clower's first deployment. "I feel good, but I have mixed feelings," Clower was quoted in The Metter Advertiser as saying.
In preparation for the mission, soldiers received special language and farming training, such as irrigation, crop production, pest management, livestock management and more. Experts at the University of Georgia assisted with training and will continue to be a resource for the unit.
Wheat production will be high on the list of priorities, as bread is a major food source. Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that the Afghanistan region has seen a resurgence in wheat production, but for decades the area has suffered droughts, not to mention war.
Laurie Wexel, president of the Lilburn Woman's Club, said she's proud of her son, and what he is doing. And, as a special project, the women's organization has taken on the 265th Unit.
Although Wexel thought she might not see him again, she has -- on Skype and in July when he was home on leave for two weeks.
Overall, things seem to be going OK.
"He seems to be doing quite well and adjusted well to the routine over there," Wexel said.