Henry Visits Soldiers, Leaves For Germany

Friday, March 9th 2007, 10:45 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry visited with Oklahoma troops at Camp Phoenix near Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday before flying to Germany, where he was scheduled to talk to wounded soldiers at a military hospital.

Henry also made stops in Iraq and Kuwait this week as part of a tour of military installations at the invitation of the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department.

``It was great to see our troops on the ground in Afghanistan,'' the governor said in a statement released by his Capitol office. ``They're performing a vital mission in the war on terrorism, and we are very proud of their service and appreciative of the job they are doing,'' the Oklahoma governor said.

He was accompanied on the trip by Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona.

Henry had breakfast on Friday with Oklahoma National Guard troops stationed at Camp Phoenix on the outskirts of Kabul.

Approximately 350 members of the 45th Infantry Brigade's 1st Battalion, 180th Infantry are assigned there to provide security for the installation. Henry toured Camp Phoenix and Camp Blackhorse where he met with soldiers and participated in military award ceremonies.

Late Friday, Henry and his party left Afghanistan for the U.S. military base at Ramstein, Germany. On Saturday, the governor was scheduled to visit Landstuhl Regional Medical Center where many wounded soldiers are treated. He will return to Oklahoma Sunday.

He began his trip earlier this week with classified briefings at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

He visited troops in Kuwait and Iraq on Tuesday and Wednesday, spending time with soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard's 1345th Transportation Company in Mosul, Iraq. While in Afghanistan Thursday, Henry met with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

Henry's trip was not announced in advance because of federal security regulations.

In a conference telephone call Wednesday, he said does not know if the United States can succeed in Iraq but believes progress is being made.

Henry said morale of the Oklahoma troops he spent time with in Mosul is high, despite having one of the most dangerous jobs in Iraq, moving supplies and equipment, exposing them to roadside bombs.

``They are so dedicated. They believe in this mission. But they've been here for 10 months and they're ready to come home,'' he said.