Washington, Jan 11: Michael Haley, the husband of South Carolina’s Indian American Governor Nikki Haley, is preparing for a year-long deployment in Afghanistan as part of a unit that will teach Afghan farmers to grow sustainable crops.
A captain in the South Carolina National Guard, Michael Haley received a tearful goodbye from his family Thursday. He will undergo a month of training in Indiana before beginning his Afghanistan deployment.
It is Haley’s first deployment abroad since joining the National Guard in 2006. Previously he was a platoon leader and the commander of an area support medical company.
Before joining the Guard, he was a businessman. In his role as South Carolina’s “first gentleman”, he has advocated for at-risk youth programmes and the state’s foster care system.
At a departure ceremony Thursday in Eastover, Nikki Haley and her two children, daughter Rena, 14, and son Nalin, 10, hugged Michael and wiped away tears alongside the families of other departing servicemen and women, according to CNN.
In a statement on her Facebook page, the Republican governor wrote: “We are a proud military family who understands the sacrifices any family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country.”
A member of the South Carolina National Guard’s 3/49 Agribusiness Development Team, Haley will be involved in teaching Afghan farmers new agricultural techniques with the goal of improving living conditions.
Nikki Haley was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 with backing from the tea party. She became the state’s first female governor and the second Indian-American elected to a governorship, after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
At 40, she is currently the youngest governor in the US.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)