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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was in the Middle East this week, meeting with military officials and Missouri soldiers. He spoke with reporters via conference call Wednesday. As KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, the trip gave Nixon a chance to see firsthand the effect that Missourians have on the war effort.
Nixon began his trip in Washington D.C., where he met with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the National Guard Bureau chief, General Frank Grass. After a visit to Walter Reed hospital, he arrived in Kuwait Tuesday afternoon and visited with the 935th Aviation Support Battalion from Springfield and the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade from Sedalia.
Nixon arrived in Afghanistan Wednesday morning and visited a number of Forward Operating Bases. He met with the 1138th Engineer Company from Farmington. Nixon praised the work that he saw from all the Missouri soldiers he met.
“Every time I’m here, I’m inspired by the 24/7 get-it-done attitude, and I’m confident that Missourians, as usual, are not hesitating to assist when called on, and quite frankly lead here in this difficult theater,” Nixon said.
Nixon says his trip to the Middle East has given him a better idea as to what Missouri’s budget should look like. He says a substantial amount of the budget is tailored to training the Missouri National Guard.
“We’ve picked up a lot when you look at what the missions are in the future. I think that will allow us to efficiently and effectively use the taxpayer dollars we have on the guard side to the greatest benefit – not only to the training of our guardsmen and women, but also to help our country,” Nixon said.
This was Nixon’s third visit to Afghanistan. He says his visits have given him good insight of his role as a member of the Council of Governors in assuring the force strength of the U.S. Military is spread evenly across all branches.
For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.