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Air Guard deployment critical to nation’s security, says governor

ST JOSEPH, MO (Oct. 29, 2010) -- The jobs and missions of Missouri Air National Guard members in the war fight are critical to the safety and security of the nation, the state's top elected official told hundreds of Air Guard members here today.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited the 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base to speak with those Airmen who are deploying overseas in support of combat operations.

"We are honored to be with those who are leaving and those who have served," said Nixon.

I look forward to doing whatever I can to make sure you are given the respect and support necessary to complete a mission-critical job for the United States of America," he said.

Nixon told those gathered that the base's "excellence" in air transport was renowned with C-130 Hercules air crews operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those he flew with during his recent trips overseas.

"Every one of them had trained here," he said. "They are doing, as you will do, as you have done, an excellent job."

He also said that the National Guard's citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen are considered a critical-support by top military commanders in the war zone.

Assuring his support, Nixon pointed out the state's "Show Me Heroes" program, which ties returning citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen with civilian employers who pledge job opportunities.

"So far, we have signed up 974 Missouri employers in the Show Me Heroes program," he said to a loud applause.

Nixon also announced plans to phase out "all state income taxes on military pensions within the next few years."

Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, Missouri adjutant general, thanked the governor for his support to Guardmembers.

"We came up here today not only to recognize those of you who are preparing to deploy, but also those of you who have deployed and served so nobly and honorably this state and this nation," he said.

Also praising the Wing's training and experience, the general called on deploying Airmen to "rely on each other" to ensure their safe return.

"I know you will do your duty and do it well," said Danner.