News: Governor: ‘Without the Guard, the job just could not get done’
Story by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The National Guard is making an essential contribution to the overseas warfight, Missouri’s governor said here today.
Recently returned from a Middle East visit, Gov. Jay Nixon told about 1,800 Guard members attending the 39th annual conference of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States that commanders repeatedly told him the Guard is vital to the mission.
“Without the Guard, the job just could not get done,” Nixon said. Governors are the commanders-in-chief of their state’s National Guard, while they are in state status.
“I salute you for your service to our country,” he said. “Your readiness, willingness and ability to step into the breach on behalf of our fellow Americans have been demonstrated countless times over the decades and especially in the homeland here since 9/11 as a key part of a highly trained, highly dedicated military force that is second to none.”
The idea for the National Guard’s agribusiness development teams currently serving in Afghanistan was born in Missouri, and the state currently has a team deployed in theater.
The Guard’s contribution includes “winning not only the war but winning the peace in these war-torn countries,” Nixon said. “Its National Guard units like the [ADTs] that are on the forefront.
“They’re in the villages of Afghanistan drilling water wells. Showing farmers how to grow sustainable food, not opium. And interacting with villagers and tribal leaders. … They are making a difference.”
Talking with troops was the highlight of Nixon’s multi-nation visit that included both Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.
“Many of these soldiers, sailors, airmen that we talked to had been in theater before,” he said. “Multiple deployments. Three, four, five times. I sat with one man that had been deployed six times. …
“As governor, I’ve also had a chance to see our Guard at work in the aftermath of natural disasters. Clearing roads. Providing generators and shelters. Helping utility crews restore electricity. Quite frankly, just being there. …
“Those duties take you away from your homes and families, and you have our country’s grateful appreciation.”