Governor Nixon is in Iraq, visiting Missouri National Guard troops preparing the country for a drawdown of United States military personnel.
Nixon tells the Missourinet he’s been impressed by how well Missouri Guard personnel have performed their duties.
“The morale has been excellent. I think these soldiers here really feel like they’ve made progress,” Nixon says.
Nixon is traveling as part of a five-governor tour of Iraq which also included Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota. The Pentagon held a briefing for the governors. Nixon visited injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D. C. before leaving Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday. The governor arrived in Baghdad earlier today.
The governors had lunch with military personnel stationed at Camp Victory. They spoke with Lt. General Kenneth Hunzeker, Deputy Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. They also received a demonstration of a new piece of equipment, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, which has reduced the number of casualties in the war.
Nixon says he has been able to speak with many of the Missourians serving in Iraq. It hasn’t been all business. The governors got to sit down to a barbecue with U.S. troops at Al Faw Palace.
Military policy prevents the governor from disclosing how long he will be in the Middle East and where else he might travel.
This is Nixon’s second trip to Iraq.