U.S. Governors Visit Servicemembers in Afghanistan
By Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 27, 2006 A delegation of U.S. governors arrived here yesterday to visit with servicemembers.
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt visits with servicemembers serving here in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom May 26. Blunt and fellow governors Brian Schweitzer, of Montana, and Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts, shared lunch with servicemembers to check on the welfare of their constituents. Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Govs. Brian Schweitzer, of Montana; Matt Blunt, of Missouri; and Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts, shared lunch with servicemembers to check on their constituents serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.
"We came here to see how our guys are doing," Schweitzer said. "If politicians are going to send our soldiers in harm's way, the least we can do is come out here, visit with them, check on them, and let them know we're proud of what they're doing."
Several servicemembers expressed appreciation that the governors endured the long trip here to personally visit with them.
"It's great that they came out here to support the troops," said Army Capt. Chad Ryg, with the 7th Special Forces Group. "It means a lot, and it's a big boost in morale," the Billings, Mont., native said.
Army Spc. Thomas J. Crowley, also assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, out of Fort Bragg, N.C., agreed with Ryg.
"I think it's great," Crowley said of the visit. "It's a nice change of pace to be able to come here today and have lunch with the governor," the Stoughton, Mass., native said. "It's not every day you get a chance to meet your governor, especially in Afghanistan."
Romney said that personally seeing the conditions endured by servicemembers serving in Afghanistan allows politicians to gain a better perspective of the situation -- an understanding he wants to make sure average citizens back home don't take for granted.
"You're doing a great job," Romney said to soldiers and Marines sitting at his table. "Seeing it firsthand, I realize how tough it is out here. I'm going to do all I can to make sure the folks back home appreciate all that you guys are doing here."
Each governor seemed to listen intently as servicemembers shared their thoughts and concerns about serving here. At the conclusion of the visit, they appeared impressed with all they had heard and seen.
"Morale is high," Schweitzer said after conversing with servicemembers. "Our soldiers know it's a work in progress. They believe in the mission, and they are getting it done."
(Army Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon is assigned to the 345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)