Nixon visiting Missouri troops in Afghanistan

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Missouri News Horizon
— Away from the quiet security that is the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, and away from the peaceful certainty that fills most Missouri small towns, Gov. Jay Nixon has spent much of his week in a completely different environment — joining a number of Missouri troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Under the veil of secrecy, Nixon slipped off to Washington earlier this week. There, he met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and visited with troops at Walter Reid Military Medical Center. On Tuesday, Nixon and a group of other American lawmakers — including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican — flew to Kuwait, from where they left for Afghanistan early Wednesday morning.

With a “small but agile group,” Nixon said, he has used his time there to “see America’s power presented around the world. It is always inspiring to see the values they bring to work.”

Nixon said he has focused on many missions that are specific to the Missouri National Guard, which has been performing internationally ever since the country began expanding its presence in the Middle East following the September 11th attacks in 2001.

“They have integrated their-selves into our force in a way that as long as we have a presence here, the guard will be integrated,” he said. Much of the National Guard’s training funding comes from the state, and Nixon said his third trip to the region has reaffirmed the importance of funding for the program.

Nixon has met with many of the generals on the ground as well as missouri groups based in Springfield, Farmington, and Sedalia. He is expected to return to the state later this week.