Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: Apr 16, 2006
Governor?s trip continues in Iraq, Afghanistan

INDIANAPOLIS (April 16, 2006) ? Governor Mitch Daniels participated in Easter services with Indiana troops serving in Iraq today, attending an early morning service in Baghdad before departing for Afghanistan.

?When I knew I had the opportunity to be here this particular weekend, I thought it was the single best time for me to personally come and demonstrate on behalf of all of our citizens how much we value these people and how mindful we are for what they are doing for the rest of us. There is no other time I could imagine, with the possible exception of Christmas, that would rival this for communicating how truly grateful we are,? Daniels said during a teleconference from Iraq on Saturday.

He attended a Catholic mass with the three other governors on the Department of Defense sponsored trip. Following the services, the group spent much of the day traveling to Afghanistan. They were expected to attend an evening reception with Afghan governors before concluding events for the day. On Monday, Daniels will meet with Indiana troops deployed to Afghanistan and participate in other meetings.

Sunday was the third day Daniels has spent in the Middle East on his surprise visit. Since leaving the United States on April 13, he has toured facilities, watched demonstrations of emergency response activities, and visited Indiana National Guard and active-duty units in Kuwait and Iraq. On Saturday, he awarded a Purple Heart to an Indiana National Guardsman who was shot in Iraq and returned to active duty the same day and he has participated in two ceremonies to re-enlist 13 Guardsman.

Indiana currently has 619 Army members of the Indiana National Guard deployed to Iraq, 150 Air Guard supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, and 140 Army Guard troops deployed in Afghanistan.

Other governors on the trip are Tom Vilsack, D-Iowa; Jeb Bush, R-Florida; and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.

Photos and other communications about the trip will continue to be released as received. The governor is scheduled to return to Indiana on Wednesday.