NEWS

A Bond Built to Last

Captain Christopher Gookin, Weeda Neghat, Maj. (Now Lt. Col.) John Guyette and First Sgt. Christina Churchill pose for a group photo in Afghanistan, 2010. A Bond Built to Last
Story by 1st Lt. Jeffrey Rivard, 172nd PAD
SAINT ALBANS, Vt.— A few of the Green Mountain Boys were paid a visit by a familiar face and
were able to catch up and continue strengthening a relationship which grew it's roots during the
Vermont Army National Guard deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.
Weeda Neghat an Afghan-born interpreter attached to the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
(Mountain) was given a warm welcome at American Legion Post #1, Feb. 1, 2013.
"I supported my unit whether we were taking supplies whether they needed a female interpreter
somewhere to go and conduct female engagements," said Neghat. "We did a lot of female
engagements."
Neghat logged over eight thousand miles traveling on missions to conduct 275 logistics missions,
delivering around 200 tons of supplies and assisted during key leader engagements. She started
life in war-torn Afghanistan during the war with the Soviets, which spanned nearly the entire
decade of the 1980's.
At 11 years old, she and her mother, youngest sister and brother, left Afghanistan during a time
when the Soviets were in control of the government. Their travels were not as easy as hopping
on a plane and flying to another country however. It took several days of travel on foot across
the vast Afghan desert, being escorted by armed men for protection.
"Mom made us dress really dirty so that we would look like we belonged in the city," said
Neghat.
Along the journey they were stuck in Jalal Abad for two days before making it to Pakistan due to
the amount of fighting going on between the Afghan's and Soviets in the region. Several of her
family members were incarcerated during the Soviet occupation due to their ties to the previous
Afghan government.
"Three of my cousins and three of my uncles were in jail in the time the Russians were in power,"
said Neghat. "They would put you in jail for your political status, your ties with the previous
government or whoever had money."
Neghat eventually made it to United States becoming a legalized citizen and after leaving an
unhealthy relationship decided to become an interpreter for the U.S. Government, leading to her
service with the Vermont Army National Guard.
On her first mission with the soldiers they arrived via a Chinook helicopter and were almost
instantly under attack by insurgents.
"We got out of the Chinook and I somehow tripped, so the soldier next to me helped me get up
and as soon as we got up there were shots being fired across from us so he threw me down and
said, 'don't move, don't move, don't move,'" said Neghat.
Neghat continued supporting the Iowa National Guard after the Green Mountain Boys redeployed
to their home station in Vermont later in 2010.
The camaraderie, which forged the relationship between the Green Mountain Boys and Weeda
Neghat, will likely continue living on for years to come.
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