The husband of South Carolina’s Gov. Nikki Haley is being deployed to Afghanistan, making him to likely be the first spouse of a sitting governor sent to a combat zone.
Michael Haley has been a first lieutenant and a full time federal military technician for the National Guard for the past six years. His unit has been called up and is expected to be deployed in January for a year-long tour of duty.
National Guard Association spokesman John Goheen told ABCNews.com, ”To my knowledge this is the first case of a sitting governor’s spouse being deployed.”
After being notified of his deployment, Michael Haley released a statement saying, “This deployment is the reason I joined the National Guard. It is important to me to be able to give back.”
“The only thing that gives me pause is the year-long deployment away from family. But in the end, I can’t help but to think giving one year along with my fellow soldiers, as many have done before me, to secure a life of freedom for my family is well worth all that comes with it,” he said.
According to Col. Pete Brooks, a spokesman for the National Guard, Haley will be part of an agribusiness team of 100 to 200 guard members in Afghanistan. The Army website says that the agribusiness development team which Haley will be a part of is “composed of Army National Guard soldiers with backgrounds and expertise in various sectors of the agribusiness field … to provide training and advice to Afghan universities, provincial ministries and local farmers.”
His wife, Gov. Haley, is the first woman to run the state of South Carolina and the second Indian-American governor in the U.S. but she is no stranger to military life as her brother was an Army major serving in the first Persian Gulf War.
The governor came into the spotlight earlier this year as she was thought to be a possible VP contender. However, she expressed no interest in being Mitt Romney’s running mate. If offered the vice presidential slot, Haley said she would not take it.
Michael Haley will leave behind two children while in Afghanistan. But his family is very supportive. The governor said she was proud of her husband.
“When your family gets the call, you have to be respond,” the first-term Republican governor from Lexington said during a news conference in Greenville on Monday.
“Do you worry? Yes, of course, you worry. … It’s like what I tell all my military spouses when I speak to other deployments; all needs to be well on the home front. And so we will be fine here, and he just needs to take care of himself, when he’s there.”