JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon has been meeting with Missouri troops who are deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan and said their service for the state and nation is "inspiring."
The most recent visit is Nixon's third Department of Defense trip to the war zone since he took office in 2009. The Democratic governor said the trips permit him to recognize Missouri National Guard members for their service and have helped inform state budget decisions that affect the Guard. In addition, Nixon said the visits allow him to "see America's power presented around the world."
"These folks don't get a day off here. It's always inspiring to see folks that work a full shift every day and that do so in an entirely volunteer operation," Nixon said. "They have just decided that they're going to step up for us right now, and that is always personally inspiring to me to see those folks do that and I think sets a great example for other Missourians."
Nixon said the most recent trip started in Washington with meetings with military leaders and a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The governor said he arrived Tuesday in Kuwait and was in Afghanistan on Wednesday. Nixon said he went to forward operating bases in Afghanistan, received briefings from military commanders and swore-in several soldiers for extensions of their service.
Reporters in Missouri first were told Nixon was overseas during a conference call Wednesday, though the trip could not be revealed until Thursday. A spokesman for Nixon said the governor's office cannot disclose when the governor is returning to Missouri.
Nixon said he has remained in contact with his office. Gubernatorial authority has not been transferred to Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
Nixon traveled with a group of other governors to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010.