Sgt. Hanson returns from helping Afghan farmers

August 25, 2010 12:40:15 AM PDT
A National Guardsman serving in Afghanistan returned home Tuesday night. ABC7 has followed First Sgt. John Hanson's mission to train Afghan farmers, but are only now learning about the serious danger he faced on a daily basis.

Hanson's wife, Annette, anxiously waited for her husband to return from war. Hanson left nearly one year ago and now he is finally home.

Instantly, the anxiety was replaced by elation. After two decades of marriage and four deployments, it doesn't get any easier.

Annette said one of the toughest things about being apart was the loneliness and not having someone there to do things with.

Hanson said he had to get used to a "different deployment, different place, different country."

This last deployment was unlike any other. Hanson was part of an elite agri-business development team and their goal was to train Afghan farmers to become self-sufficient.

Hanson sent ABC7 video of his mission throughout the year of his work with animals and with the people. However, what viewers didn't see was the danger he was in daily.

"We had 21 separate engagements with the enemy, besides doing what we needed to do. So we got mortared a lot, got shot at a lot," said Hanson.

"There were days I was surrounded by children I thought I was safe, we were doing good stuff, treating animals and somebody starts shooting at us," said Sgt. David Bentley.

Bentley and Hanson were a part of the same specialized unit. Bentley left Afghanistan in March after a leg injury. Hanson came back un-scathed, but for a nearly a year friends worried.

"This one is more emotional for me because I don't want him to leave again," said Stuart Ross, a friend.

As for what's next for first Hanson, he'll take a few weeks to transition out of military life and into civilian life. He goes back to work for the city of Carmel in the beginning of October.


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