PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Governor Dennis Daugaard is overseas today in Afghanistan-taking part in a trip to the country with two other governors. Last year the Department of Defense offered governors a chance to visit their National Guard troops. Daugaard says he had a chance to go last November but the schedule didn’t work out. He was able to attend the trip this time and went with the Governors of Michigan and Rhode Island. Daugaard says they spent the day in Washington, D.C. on Monday. They left the country that evening and landed in Kuwait Tuesday morning. The governor says he flew to Kabul, Afghanistan this morning and later visited a hospital for injured soldiers. While in the Middle East, he has visited with guard members from units based in Brookings and Rapid City and will talk with troops from the 842nd Engineering Company tomorrow. Daugaard says everyone he spoke with from South Dakota all seemed to be doing well.
Some of the soldiers offered written messages to friends and family that he will be bringing back to South Dakota. Daugaard says although the 200th Engineer Company is also in Afghanistan, he will not be able to visit with its members; as the trip is being coordinated to allow all three Governors to visit troops from their states and the 200th is stationed in a camp that is not near scheduled stops. Daugaard says protection measures are taken for the Governors as they travel in Afghanistan.
Daugaard spoke with reporters from Afghanistan this morning and said the trip, funded by the Department of Defense, has given him a chance to see familiar faces of several people he last saw at deployment ceremonies.
Daugaard says he’s learned more about military operations and he now has a better understanding of how South Dakota troops are disbursed throughout Afghanistan.
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