News: Governor visits Montana Guardsmen in Afghanistan
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Tanya Green
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan—The 24th Governor of Montana, Steve Bullock, met with U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, July 25. His stop at Kandahar Airfield included a visit with the Montana National Guard’s 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
Bullock said that his trip to Afghanistan was in part due to his six-year-old son’s inquiry about deploying soldiers.
“He asked me, ‘Where are they going,’ and ‘What do we do for them while they’re gone?’” said Bullock, adding that his child was trying to comprehend what it would be like to live without a parent for a significant time period.
“I know that it’s been a long haul,” the governor told the Montana Guardsmen who sat before him. “It matters; it matters to all of Montana. I fully expect Montana to appreciate and recognize the service that you provide.”
The 495th CSSB provides sustainment and retrograde support throughout Afghanistan’s Regional Command-South. Bullock said he spoke about the service members’ combat mission with International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan Commander, Gen. Joseph Dunford.
“He (Gen. Dunford) said, ‘One thing that I don’t worry about is retrograde because it’s being taken care of,’ and, that means that it’s being taken care of by each and every one of you,” said Bullock applauding his hometown troops.
The governor also reassured the soldiers that they will be supported not only throughout the duration of their deployment, but also upon their return to Montana. Bullock said he acknowledges the sacrifices that service members make and the additional skill sets that National Guardsmen possess.
He added that the Adjutant General and current Montana National Guard Commander, Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn, shares his sentiments about soldier-support.
“I can’t sit here and say ‘I know what you’ve been through,’ nor will I even try to pretend that I do,” said Bullock, “but, anything we can do as you come home, you just call on us.”
The governor then provided the soldiers with the opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns.
“It’s been an enriching experience for me; thank you for the sacrifices that you make,” he said before departing.
Bullock travelled to Afghanistan with Virginia’s Governor, Bob McDonnell, who also visited with his hometown troops serving at Kandahar Airfield.