Gov. Brian Sandoval wrapping up whirlwind tour of Middle East military bases
December 8, 2016
Gov. Brian Sandoval is back in Germany following a whirlwind tour of U.S. military bases in the Middle East.
He and fellow governors Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Scott Walker of Wisconsin landed in Kuwait Tuesday and, by Thursday afternoon, were headed back to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. In that short span, Sandoval said they visited with soldiers and guardsmen from those three states in not only Kuwait but the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan. He said he had several opportunities to meet with Nevadans serving in those countries and, despite the tight schedule, had time to sit and talk with a number of them over lunch and dinner
In the process, he managed to deliver a box of a mom's homemade cookies to a soldier whose mother had asked Sandoval to try get the cookies to him.
Sandoval said by phone Thursday, he also met with a military technician from Sparks. He said, ironically he had taken a picture with the soldier's wife and three children earlier. He took a picture with the guardsman to send home.
The final stop on the tour was a visit to the hospital at Ramstein to meet with injured troops before returning to the states late Friday.
Sandoval said he was asked about President-elect Trump.
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"I told them I'm going to support the president-elect because, for the nation to be successful, the president needs to be successful."
He said one group of Nevadans on the tour was a military police unit at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait whose unique responsibility is to act as customs agents for troops on their way home.
"They're responsible to make sure no contraband leaves the country," Sandoval said.
He said the Nevada men and women serving were positive. He said they have been receiving accolades for their performance in a variety of missions but that all are looking forward to coming home. One guard unit in particular, the 422nd Signal Company, he said is now on its third deployment in six years.
"They have really made some incredible sacrifices," Sandoval said.
He conceded that, for security reasons, their ability to actually tour the countries they visit is pretty much limited to touring the military compounds. But he said they did drive past the scene of a recent car bombing that killed four. He said that was apparently done by an Afghan who had been on the base at Bagram the past four years.
He said there are also incoming rockets periodically, car bombings and suicide bombers at those bases.
"Even when they're on base, they're at risk," Sandoval said of the troops.
But he said the tour was valuable to him as Nevada's commander in chief.
"For me, you get a very good perspective on the living conditions for our troops as well as the situation here in country," he said.