Governor Hunstman was here at Blackhorse on Friday, December 1, 2006. It was an honor to meet with him.
He got here just before lunch. As I walked out of my building, he was standing there with a group of several individuals, including BG Pritt, the governor from Oregon, Ken, Steve, Jimmy and a few others. As I walked up and stood just outside the group, Ken mentioned something about Akhtar. The governor turned his attention to me so I started to tell him about the court martial. At that time, BG Pritt interjected, “you have to tell him the pre-trial confinement story.” I laughed and told him to read it on my blog page – a shameless plug but ended up telling him the story anyway. For those of you who don’t’ know the story, you will have to read it here as I’m not going to repeat it. What was so cool about the experience is the attention he gave me. He looked at the me the whole time, appeared to be interested and gave me his full attention. Steve says that’s one of his great qualities. Steve knows him from his work on the Highway Patrol.
After a briefing and lunch with his troops, we met in B-Hut 3 for a quite, intimate meeting with him. He gave us an update on how things are going at home. Everything from the Jazz to the economy. It was great to hear about what was happening at home. He then thanked us on behalf of the State of Utah for our service here. He praised as “heroes” but then quickly added that the real “heroes,” “the unsung heroes” are our wives and families at home. A chorus of nods and murmurs of agreement echoed that comment as each one of us thought about our own families and the tremendous love and support you all are giving us. He said that his State of the State address will focus on the Guard and the families. He said that he will give the address from the Air Guard facility at the Airport. I’ll look forward to hearing or reading his address.
He talked about how there are certain experiences in his life that he’ll never forget. He smiled and said he’d never forget the day he got married. We all laughed and agreed with that. He said he’d never forget the day he was sworn in as governor. He then got very emotional as tears came to his eyes. He had to look down for several seconds and then said that he would never forget LT Lundell’s memorial service the night before. Of course that brought back a flood of memories as we remembered the previous night’s emotions. There were tears in a few eyes. He again mentioned his meeting with President Karzai and of the President’s gratitude and praise of Scott. The governor then said that in addition to the note that he had written, he was sending a gift to Scott’s wife, a piece of jewelry. The Governor said it was a beautiful piece and was indicative of the President’s appreciation for Scott’s sacrifice. He again thanked us for our service. He concluded by telling us to come home safely.
After that, we had the opportunity to go out by the Blackhorse Rock and take pictures. I was standing next to Steve (not Esplin) in the back and the Governor was in front of the rock. Because of the number of people who needed to fit into the picture, he moved to the back of the rock, stood right next to me, and put his arm around my shoulder for the picture. It was pretty cool. He said he was going to frame the picture and hang it at home. Now I and the rest of our team will be famous!!