WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and John Barrasso (R-WY) departed from Afghanistan and Qatar today after spending Thanksgiving with U.S servicemembers stationed at Bagram Air Force Base. In addition, the senators traveled around Afghanistan to witness the continued mission and tour various work sites with troops from their home states.
Senator Ernst, a former company commander in the Iowa National Guard and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, met with the 211th Aviation Battalion and the 185th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion (CSSB) of Iowa. During her 23 years of military service, Senator Ernst Commanded the 185th CSSB, based out of Johnston, Iowa and served as the Support Operations Officer in the Battalion Headquarters for the 211th Aviation Battalion.
Prior to the base visits, Senator Ernst spoke at the Sisters in Arms event for female North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Following their visit, Senator Barrasso, and Senators Ernst and Fischer, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the following:
“It was a tremendous honor to spend Thanksgiving with Iowans who are sacrificing so much in defense of our freedoms - particularly so far from home during the holidays,” said Ernst. “I had the opportunity to speak with Iowans in the 248th Aviation Battalion and visit with some familiar faces in the 185th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, as well as travel to work sites to see their efforts on the front lines. I am thankful to have shared this precious time with our outstanding Iowa servicemembers and I thank them - as well as their families - for their faithful service to our grateful nation.”
“I was humbled and honored to spend this Thanksgiving with service members from Nebraska currently stationed in Qatar and Afghanistan,” said Fischer. “These brave service members are far away from their homes and loved ones this holiday season. I cherished the time I spent with each and every one of them. I know I join all Nebraskans when I say how thankful we are for the sacrifices they and their families make to keep us safe.”
“The men and women of Wyoming have a proud record of military service to our country. This year is no exception. Right now, we have members of the Wyoming National Guard from across the Cowboy State stationed in both Qatar and Afghanistan,” said Barrasso. “It was an honor to bring a little bit of Wyoming to them this Thanksgiving. We enjoyed talking about their families back home and how excited we are to cheer on the Cowboy football team as they wrap up their winning season this fall. Everyone can be proud of the outstanding job our Wyoming troops are doing to keep our country safe.”
Ernst with the 211th Aviation Battalion and the 185th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion of Iowa in Afghanistan.
Fischer with Nebraska servicemembers in Qatar.
Barrasso in Qatar with Wyoming servicemembers.