FORT JACKSON, S.C. – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and her family bid a tearful farewell to her husband, Michael, on Thursday as he departed with a National Guard unit for a month of training and then deployment to Afghanistan.
Capt. Michael Haley wrapped his arms around his wife and two children as his unit was given a send-off by several hundred family members, friends and Guard officials at a National Guard site outside Columbia.
The Republican governor issued a statement saying “we are a proud military family who understands the sacrifices any family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country.”
After Gov. Haley hugged their 10-year-old son Nalin and 14-year-old daughter Rena, the governor wrapped her arms around her husband and buried her head in his shoulder. Family members crowded around the small group, many wiping away tears. The governor stepped away, dabbing her nose with a handkerchief as she appeared to be fighting back tears, after giving her husband multiple kisses.
Haley’s unit is not scheduled to return to South Carolina before departing on its yearlong mission. It is the third South Carolina Army National Guard group to spend a year working with Afghan farmers to improve farming practices.
Michael Haley joined the guard as an officer in 2006. This will be his first deployment overseas.
Guard officials said Haley’s background as a businessman would be helpful to the unit as it works with Afghan farmers to sell their crops and improve the ways they bring them to market.