From the governor’s office this a.m.:
Gov. Chris Gregoire this week met with Washington Army National Guard troops in Iraq. The governor is visiting Iraq with a delegation including Governors John Corzine (D-NJ) and Rick Perry (R-TX).
“In August, I had the honor of participating in the farewell ceremony for the Washington Army National Guard troops in Yakima as they left to serve Operation Iraqi Freedom. I promised I would visit them and it is with great humility that I acknowledge their critical service for our state and our country,” Gregoire said. “These servicemen and -women show the utmost courage and strength as they face unimaginable circumstances each day. On behalf of all Washingtonians, I thank the troops, as well as their families at home, for their great sacrifice.”
While in Iraq, Gregoire and the delegation met with service members from Washington state and around the United States, senior military and public officials. Prior to leaving, the delegation met with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. Secretary Gates thanked them for their continued support of the troops and making this important visit a priority.
Approximately 2,500 members of the Washington National Guard are currently serving in locations around the world. Of that number, about 2,400 are members of the 81st Brigade serving in Iraq. The Brigade’s focus in Iraq is convoy security and force protection operations. The 81st also served in Iraq from March 2004 to March 2005.
“We come away with a better understanding of the incredible circumstances the troops face each day and how we can better support the troops and their families while they are abroad,” Gregoire added.
Gregoire reminds all Washingtonians that these citizen soldiers are our friends, neighbors and co-workers, and deserve our utmost support.
Later this week the governor’s video message to the troops will be available for viewing on www.TroopTube.tv and www.governor.wa.gov
Gregoire’s office didn’t have specifics of where she’s visited so far, although the governor was expected to provide details later this morning.
“She’s in Iraq, that’s all I know,” said spokesman Pearse Edwards.
In Washington, D.C. before the trip, Gregoire met with Pentagon officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Gregoire arrives back in Washington Thursday night, Edwards said.
Washington state covered Gregoire’s travel costs to Washington, D.C., Edwards said.
“The Pentagon paid for all other costs,” he said.
Also: It turns out that The Olympian’s Adam Wilson wins the pool.