Gov. Henry Visits Troops in Iraq

Oklahoma City – Governor Brad Henry was in Iraq today visiting Oklahoma troops on the frontlines of the war on terrorism.  The U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department invited the governor to participate in a tour of the region to get a firsthand look at conditions where state soldiers are serving.

“Our Oklahoma troops are doing a great job under challenging conditions, and it was a great honor to meet with them in Iraq ,” said Gov. Henry, who participated in the trip with Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona .

“I told our soldiers we are very proud of them and are praying for them everyday.  They were anxious to hear news from home and wanted to let their families know they were doing well.”

Gov. Henry 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.

The governor landed in Kuwait on Tuesday where he received a briefing from U.S. military officials and had lunch with Oklahoma troops at Camp Arifijhan in Ali Al Saleem.  

Later in the day, Gov. Henry flew to Baghdad to meet with Zalmay Khalilizad, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq; General David Patraeus, the new American commander of the multinational forces; and several cabinet members of the Iraqi government.  The governor then departed for Mosul in northern Iraq where he spent the night at an American military camp with Oklahoma troops stationed there.

On Wednesday, the governor was scheduled to tour the Mosul base and meet with soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard's 1345 th Transportation Company.  He was also scheduled to visit a Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Mosul area.  The teams, led by U.S. diplomats and located throughout Iraq , assist in developing the Iraqi economy and governance.

The governor made a brief stop in Talil , Iraq before returning to Kuwait Wednesday.

In keeping with federal security requirements, the governor's trip was not announced in advance at the request of the Department of Defense.    

This was Gov. Henry's second visit to Oklahoma soldiers stationed in Iraq . He made a similar trip there in February of 2006.