COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley canceled scheduled events Monday to spend time with her husband during a break from his deployment to Afghanistan.
Capt. Michael Haley is in the state with his family for up to two weeks of leave planned and approved by the South Carolina National Guard, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey told The Associated Press.
The Republican governor canceled two public events Monday morning in Charleston, after her husband came home a few days earlier than expected, Godfrey said. He declined to give further details.
Those events will be rescheduled. Beyond a news conference today, Haley has no other scheduled events this week.
Guard spokeswoman Maj. Cindi King said Haley is on personal leave that soldiers are allowed, as approved by their commanders. Generally, soldiers get up to two weeks of “R and R” leave yearly, she said.
The governor and their two children bid Capt. Haley farewell at Fort Jackson in January. He was among 48 soldiers heading for a month of training before a yearlong mission to Afghanistan.
His unit is the third S.C. Army National Guard group to spend a year working with Afghan farmers to improve practices geared at turning them away from growing poppies, which supports an opiate drug trade and subsidizes the Taliban.
It is Haley’s first deployment overseas. He joined the guard as an officer in 2006. He has served as a medical service corps officer and a planning officer in the Guard’s Columbia headquarters. Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., state adjutant general and head of the 11,000-member Guard, has said Haley receives no special treatment because his wife happens to be governor.
The agricultural mission by the National Guard in Afghanistan began in 2008. Units from nine states have worked in the country over the years.
The Afghan farmers have few mechanical aids, but many of their crops are similar to those grown in the southeastern U.S. Many of the crops include cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat, barley, and vegetables including cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, okra and melons.