Virginia's Governor Bob McDonnell is a 21-year U.S. Army veteran who retired in 1997 as a Lieutenant Colonel. This week he is part of a U.S. State Department trip to Kuwait and Afghanistan to visit with American troops.
On Tuesday the Governor wrote about his mission:
As you read this email I'm currently visiting with our troops in Afghanistan.
This trip began at the start of the week, but due to security requirements we weren't able to make it public until today.
On Monday I joined Montana Governor Steve Bullock for a briefing at the Pentagon, followed by a very moving experience meeting with wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Medical Center. I cannot say enough about the bravery and the courage shown by these great American patriots who have given so much so that we may be free.
Yesterday we arrived at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait and traveled to Udairi Army Air Field where I got to hold a town hall with Virginians serving there. The first thing I did was thank them, on behalf of all Virginians, for their service. After breakfast this morning with the troops we were back in the air, arriving here in Kabul a while ago.
We will remain in Afghanistan today and tomorrow, and continue meeting with Virginia soldiers and military leaders. Friday we will travel to Germany and visit a military medical facility to again meet with men and women who have been wounded in the service of our country. Part of that visit will be a little bit of a homecoming for me. I served in the Army in Germany in the late 70's as a platoon leader with the 2nd Armored Division, including running a medical clinic for our post. It will be nice to be back.
As Virginians, we have a close and historic relationship with the American military. This great Commonwealth can rightly be called the "home of America's Armed Services." From the Pentagon to Langley to Fort Lee to Naval Station Norfolk, the military defines our communities, employs our loved ones, and is an integral part of the fabric of life in this great state. I know that like myself, our daughter Jeanine who served in the Army in Iraq, and both my father and my father-in-law, so many of you have served our nation with honor and valor. Thank you for your service. And I also know that many of you who are reading this have loved ones in harm's way at this very moment. Our prayers and our deep appreciation are with you and your family.
This is a trip I've looked forward to for a long time. Freedom is not free. Everyday we wake up safe and secure because our neighbors, co-workers, family members and friends have volunteered to leave the peace of home for the danger and uncertainty of our world's most volatile locations. On this trip, I'm telling them, on behalf of all of us, thank you. The people of Virginia will never forget their service, their courage, their sacrifice.
God Bless Our Troops.