By Pfc. Derek L. Kuhn, 40th Public Affairs DetachmentJuly 24, 2009
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not have to travel too far from his own front yard to eat good barbecue, hear live music or see the state flag.
Recently, however, Perry traveled half-way around the world to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, where he enjoyed all three Lone-Star staples with National Guard Soldiers from the 6th Battalion, 36th Military Intelligence Brigade, out of Camp Mabry, Texas.
The guardsmen gave their governor the home-state treatment with a Texas style barbecue, live music and a state flag at the base in eastern Afghanistan, July 20.
Perry was humbled by his reception as he toured Afghanistan with four other state governors, visiting Soldiers and observing the progress being made by the Agribusiness Development Teams.
"Wow, this is great!" Perry said to the crowd of Texans. "You can't expect any better."
The festivities began with a ceremony where Perry was presented with a Texas flag, which had flown over BAF for over a year. Perry then gave the national guardsmen a new flag to fly. As the flag was hoisted, the live band began playing the "Yellow Rose of Texas."
After the flag raising ceremony, Perry met with the Soldiers-taking pictures and talking about many topics of interest from events back home to who will win the Big 12 football conference championship.
The national guardsmen were very excited to meet their governor and extend their hospitality.
"Governor Perry was like a rock star," said U.S. Army Capt. Steve Lin of Austin, Texas, the special project officer with the 6-36 MI. "He was very charismatic and really accommodating to all the Soldiers."
Many believe Perry's visit raised the spirits of the Soldiers in attendance.
"He [Perry] really cared about how we were doing," said U.S. Army Sgt. Manuel Gomez III, a communications specialist with the 6-36 MI. "It is great when important people visit Soldiers; it really boosts morale."
Perry then sampled the Texas-style barbecue with generous portions of steak, chicken, baked potatoes and ranch-style beans.
Gomez who is known throughout his company for his picantAfA salsa made Perry his specialty dish.
"Governor Perry told me that he liked my salsa," said a smiling Gomez. "He said it was hot, but good."
As the evening drew to a close, Perry addressed the Soldiers.
"We are very proud of you all," said Perry. "We can't wait until you come home. Be safe and know that the beer will still be cold when you come back."