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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Missouri Governor Makes Fourth Trip To Afghanistan

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to return to Jefferson City on Monday after an undercover, whirlwind trip to Afghanistan over the weekend.

It was Nixon’s fourth trip to the war zone, where U.S. troops have been present for more than a decade.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and three other governors meet with top members of the U.S. military stationed in Afghanistan.
Credit Governor's Office
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and three other governors meet with top members of the U.S. military stationed in Afghanistan.

According to the governor’s office, he “arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday as part of a delegation of four U.S. governors that included Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Tennessee Gov. William Haslam.”

Nixon’s staff noted that he “is one of the original members of the Council of Governors, formed in 2010 to address matters pertaining to the National Guard and homeland security.”

The governors left Friday after a briefing at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington D.C. They first flew into Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where “they visited with military patients being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center before traveling on to Kabul, Afghanistan.”

In Kabul, the governors met with U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham and Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces – Afghanistan.

The governors then traveled to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. There, Nixon and others met with Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, Commander of the 10th Mountain Division and Regional Command - East.

Said Nixon in a statement:  “As America turns over security to our Afghan partners, our military continues to carry out its mission with the same degree of courage and professionalism it has always had. The briefings and meetings with top commanders have given me additional perspective on current and emerging national security matters, and will be helpful in my work on the Council of Governors.”

Nixon also met with troops from Missouri currently deployed in  Afghanistan.  They include two Missouri National Guard units that jointly consist of 300 Missourians: the 220th Engineer Company, based in Festus, and the 276th Engineer Company, based in Pierce City/Springfield.

“I can’t say enough about the tremendous work the Missouri National Guard has done as part of our military efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries,” Nixon said.

“These brave men and women represent the selflessness and sacrifice that have always been hallmarks of our Guard, with more than 20,000 individual deployments overseas since 9/11 – and more than 1,150 citizen-soldiers and airmen have done two or more deployments. I want to thank them for serving bravely on our behalf, and also thank the families back home who waited with hope, prayer and patience during those deployments.”

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Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.