O'Malley travels to Iraq on Defense-sponsored trip
"It's important to the Department of defense, it's important to our country that governors stay engaged given the numbers of National Guard troops that have been called up for extended periods of time in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan," O'Malley told reporters on a conference call. "When your turn comes up and the Secretary of Defense asks you to go, I think it's incumbent upon every governor if at all possible to go and make sure the troops know how much we appreciate what they do and how much we support them."
Aides said O'Malley had no choice in the timing of the trip and suggested the 90-day legislative session was not ideal.
O'Malley said he had met with Army reservists from Maryland but was not allowed to provide many other details of the trip for security reasons. "I hope to have more for you when I get back," the governor said.
O'Malley, who aides said was making his first trip to Iraq, traveled with Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) as part of the trip sponsored by the U.S. government. O'Malley's office said he was not accompanied by any of his own security details or other staff.
(Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office shows O'Malley with the Maryland-based Army Reserve A Company of the 323 Military Intelligence Battalion.)
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