JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Governor Haley Barbour visited with Mississippi National Guard troops on the ground at forward operating bases in Afghanistan Friday.
Governor Barbour and three other governors have spent this week getting a first-hand look at U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the front lines of the war on terrorism. Thursday, they took part in discussions with the U.S. ambassador and military commanders in Kabul, the country's capital city.
More than 3,500 members of the Mississippi National Guard are currently on active duty in the two countries, performing a variety of missions.
"This has been an extraordinary opportunity to see first hand the courage and commitment of our troops, who are making major contributions in the war on terrorism. As Governor, I am very proud of them and thank God for their service," Governor Barbour said.
Friday, the governors flew on a C130 from to Khost and met the Agribusiness Development Team and the Wyoming Guard Aeromedical evacuation unit at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Salerno. They then flew to Sharana to meet the Mississippi Guard Task Force Storm engineering unit and participated in an MRAP road clearing demonstration.
MRAP, which stands for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, is a heavily armored military vehicle built in Mississippi and used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Thursday, the group of governors was briefed by the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal. The governors also met with U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry.
The trip is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. The other governors participating include Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia, Governor Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming, and Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon.