Governors visit Soldiers, Airmen at JBB

Story and photos by Sgt. John Stimac
139th MPAD
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Governors from Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon and Wyoming visited Soldiers and Airmen Nov. 11 at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center east at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Wyoming Gov. David D. Freudenthal said this trip was organized by the U.S. government.

“This gives us a chance to meet with military personnel of our states, with a primary emphasis on meeting with the National Guard troops from our state,” he said.

Freudenthal said he was here once before, in 2005.

“This is the largest deployment of Soldiers we have had from Wyoming since the onset of the war,” he said. “This is a chance to see people that are important to us at home. We want to make sure they know that on behalf of the citizens of my state.”

People back home are concerned for them and their well being, said Freudenthal.

“Wyoming is a small state, it is more like a community,” he said. “I want to relay the fact that people back home care about them.”

After a meet and greet, the governors held a town-hall style meeting with the service members of their state.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski spoke to service members about the state’s unemployment rate and the new health care bill passed by the House and how it would affect the state.

Kulongoski also spoke about the state’s education system.

“Oregon has the most students enrolled in post-secondary schools in all of the state’s history,” he said.

He also said he hoped to have a baseball team in the future.

“Right now Portland is the largest media market that does not have a baseball team,” said Kulongoski.

Sgt.1st Class Christopher G. Mcintosh, battalion liaison noncommissioned officer in charge with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said he appreciated meeting the governor.

“It’s not often I get to see the governor in person and get to have a conversation with him,” he said.

Mcintosh, a Monmouth, Ore., native, said the meeting helped shed light on two issues that were important to himself and his family.

“The highest priorities for me, deal with health care and education,” he said. “To find out what the state of Oregon is doing with those issues is very important, especially when we come back home and have to get our feet wet again.”

Mcintosh said he could have discussed Oregon’s issues with the governor all day.

“When you get a chance to talk to the person that runs the state, a person that really has a finger on the pulse of what’s going on, you come away more educated,” he said.

 

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Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski meets with Oregon service members Nov. 11 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Four governors visited with their respective states’ Soldiers and Airmen.

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Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue meets with Georgia service members Nov. 11 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Four governors visited with their respective states’ Soldiers and Airmen.

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Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski fields questions at a town-hall style meeting Nov. 11 at Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center east at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Four governors visited with their respective states’ Soldiers and Airmen.