Gov. Walker returns from visit with troops in Kosovo

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MILWAUKEE -- Gov. Scott Walker returned to Wisconsin Friday morning, September 7th after traveling to Kosovo for a visit with Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers.

Gov. Walker departed for Kosovo on Tuesday. He spent about 30 hours in the country visiting with soldiers from West Bend-based Company F, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment and Detachment 1, Company B, 248th Aviation Support Battalion. The troops have been serving in Kosovo since last November supporting a NATO peace-keeping mission.

"Overall, the troops were in good spirits. We did a town hall meeting with all the troops from Wisconsin.  We talked not just about their deployment, but we talked about their return and the benefits available to them," Gov. Walker said.

This was Gov. Walker's first overseas trip since taking office.  Gov. Walker’s office didn’t make his trip public until late Thursday afternoon, citing security concerns.

Gov. Walker said the visit was an important one, to personally thank those serving abroad, hear their stories and see the progress made.

"One of the biggest things that they did and should be memorable because it was historic, was a major roadblock that they cleared in Kosovo," Gov. Walker said.

Gov. Walker admits there is still plenty of work to be done.

"Over and over and over again along the landscape, you see buildings and homes that have a framework, but aren't completed," Gov. Walker said.

During his return to Milwaukee, Gov. Walker said he flew back with the company of a few returning soldiers and got to take part in some Wisconsin tradition.

"We had a beer with the soldiers, which was a good time and plenty of good stories," Gov. Walker said.

Gov. Walker also said a highlight of his Kosovo trip was giving the oath to five soldiers who reenlisted.

The rest of the units are due to return to Wisconsin starting next week.