First Gentleman heading to Afghanistan next year

Gov. Nikki Haley's husband will be heading to Afghanistan next January to begin a year-long deployment.

Michael Haley, 42, has been a member of the South Carolina National Guard since 2006. This will be his first overseas deployment. The Associated Press reports Haley will work as a liaison between an agricultural unit and local leaders in Afghanistan. The Army has been working with Afghans for several years trying to improve the country's agricultural output.

Haley, a first lieutenant, said in a statement Monday, "This deployment is the reason I joined the National Guard. It is important to me to be able to give back. So, in that regard, I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve with a great team from South Carolina."

Haley said the difficult part will be being away from his family for a year, but he added that being able to serve his country is important.

"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.
Gov. Haley said she is proud to have her husband serve.

"Our time has come, and it is an honor to watch him serve our country. Our family could not be more proud of Michael and every man and woman who puts on a uniform," she said.

The First Gentleman has been working full time with the S.C. National Guard as a military technician. He also serves as a medical service corps officer in the Army National Guard, according to the governor's website.