(Updated 6 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is in Kuwait.
Yup. That’s right, Malloy flew to out of Washington D.C. on Monday evening as part of a Department of Defense program which provides state governors with the opportunity to visit deployed National Guardsmen and Reservists in the field.
The announcement released at 5:05 p.m. today came as a surprise to news media who have been inquiring as to Malloy’s whereabouts this week.
The Department of Defense paid for trip and before leaving Malloy and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell had lunch with with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. During the lunch they were briefed about the trip. Following the lunch, the group traveled to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to visit wounded soldiers.
Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s communications adviser, said the secrecy of the governor’s whereabouts was imposed by defense officials.
He added that Malloy was honored to take part in the trip and has already met with some servicemen and women from Connecticut.
“Visiting with the brave men and women from Connecticut and elsewhere who have selflessly put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and way of life is an honor and a privilege,” Malloy said in a press release. “We’ve lost nine soldiers since I took office in January. It is an unimaginable tragedy when someone gives their life to protect their country, but it’s also heroic.”
“I wanted to go where these troops have to go, so I could tell them in person how grateful we are for their service, and how proud they make us,” Malloy said in the statement. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit with them in Kuwait and will continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers until they all return home safely.”
It’s still unclear what the rest of Malloy’s itinerary may look like, but more information is expected to be released Wednesday.
Kuwait has acted as a staging area for U.S. troops to enter Iraq over the past few years, but just last week officials signaled they hadn’t reached an agreement on U.S. troop levels after the complete withdraw at the end of the year.