Gov. Perry Visits U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
Gov. Perry with 1st Air Cavalry troopers from Ft. Hood stationed at Taji, Iraq.
Gov. Rick Perry thanked U.S. troops and members of the Texas Military Forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan during a U.S. Department of Defense sponsored trip to visit military men and women defending freedom around the globe.
"I'm proud to have the opportunity to visit the dedicated men and women who sacrifice so much to protect freedom around the world," Gov. Perry said. "These individuals work hard through difficult and dangerous conditions to protect others, and deserve our highest honor and deepest appreciation."
Gov. Perry was part of a five governor delegation, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons. The governors stopped at several cities in Iraq, including Baghdad, Taji, Al Asad and Tallil. In Afghanistan, stops included Bagram, Gardez, Ghazni, Jalalabad, and the Task Force Phoenix Headquarters. He also stopped at bases in Kuwait and Germany.
While at Camp Taji, the governor distributed Texas flags that have flown over the State Capitol, and presented the combat infantry badge to Sgt. Maj. Travis Petty of Fort Worth and specialist Bradley Merchant of Lubbock. The governor also visited the Wounded Warrior Ministry Center in Landsthul, Germany, which provides comfort items to wounded service members evacuated from the battlefield. These non military items come exclusively from donations.
"The Texas Military Forces are proudly serving in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and represent the largest number of National Guard troops deployed in the nation to Overseas Contingency Operations," Texas Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Jose Mayorga said. "There are Texas soldiers in Iraq today who are on their 4th or 5th deployment since 2001, and continue to serve selflessly. These men and women are Texas heroes and heroines, and great Americans."
As of May 2009, Texas had more than 35,000 deployed service members, including approximately 4,500 from the Texas National Guard, more than any other state in the nation.