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First Gentleman Michael Haley, 46 Other SC Soldiers Deploy to Afghanistan

The members of the S.C. Army National Guard left Thursday for a month of training in Indiana before heading to Afghanistan.

Gov. Nikki Haley and her family, along with more than 40 other families of S.C. Army National Guard soldiers, said goodbye to their loved ones Thursday at the McGrady Training Center in Eastover. 

The 47 soldiers of the S.C. ADT 3/49 — including Gov. Haley's husband Michael Haley — left for Indiana, where they will spend a month training.

After training, the unit will spend about 11 months in Afghanistan teaching local farmers agricultural techniques and how to grow crops. 

"We are so proud of all of our families because they provide us the support that allows us to launch our troops forward," Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston said. "Each family, each soldier, each airman is special, and the Haleys are part of that family." 

Gov. Nikki Haley sat in the audience with her children, Rena and Nalin, and several other family members during a ceremony to see off the soldiers. 

"We are a proud military family who understands the sacrifices any family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country," Haley said in a statement. "This is what our men and women in uniform sign up for, and although Michael, like his brothers and sisters, is looking forward to his mission, we will miss him while he's away. Rena, Nalin and I are proud of Michael and will pray for his — and all others' — safe return."

In Afghanistan, the unit will work to strengthen the economy by providing the tools farmers need to grow sustainable crops, Livingston said. 

"The agricultural piece was the key and is the key to getting us out of Afghanistan," he said. "That's South Carolinians making a difference in this world." 

Myname Goshere January 11, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Seriously..we are teaching the afghans how to grow their local crops that they have spent literally thousands of years successfully planting and harvesting? Is this for real?
Jessie Gable January 11, 2013 at 09:05 AM
Thanks for the comment!
Norma Nichols January 11, 2013 at 01:13 PM
What they will do is teach them to grow crops that will provide a living without growing the poppies that were used to make opium. These farmers need to relearn how to grow crops for food and make a living. This is a very noble thing these US Guardsmen will go to do. May they be safe and enjoy their time with the people!
Jessie Gable January 11, 2013 at 01:18 PM
I did something similar to that in the Darien Rainforest in Panama. We taught the natives there how to cultivate the land they were on because they had been displaced in the drug war between Central and South America.
Dave May 22, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Obviously none of you have been in a combat or war zone. This growing thing is a joke. Civil action groups never work, they just drain money and manpower. As soon as we leave, which we will they, will be back growing what makes them the most money.
stanley seigler May 22, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Obviously you make a wrong assumption which makes an A outta you...

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