Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET: The husband of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is being deployed to Afghanistan with the unit of the state's National Guard in which he serves, according to a statement from the governor's office.
Michael Haley, a full-time technician with the National Guard, is also a first lieutenant. He received his orders Monday and is expected to leave for Afghanistan in January to join an agribusiness team of about 100 to 200 members, according to The State newspaper in South Carolina. He is scheduled to return nearly a year later, in December.
"It is important to me to be able to give back,” Michael Haley said in a statement. “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."
A spokesman for the National Guard Association of the United States told The State that Michael Haley may be the first spouse of a sitting governor to be deployed into a combat zone.
Nikki Haley, 40, is a Republican who assumed office in 2011. She has been discussed as a potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney and hit the campaign trail days ago for the presumptive GOP nominee.
The Haleys married in 1996. According to the Washington Post, when Nikki Haley met her husband, his name was Bill, but she asked him to start going by his middle name, Michael. She apparently told a campaign staffer that she didn’t think he looked like a Bill.
Nikki Haley has experience with relatives going to war – her brother, Mitti, was an Army major who fought in Desert Storm, the State reported.
“As a military sister, and now a military wife, I know the sacrifices a family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country," Nikki Haley said in a statement. "I also know the amazing pride we feel in watching them drop everything to 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.”
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