Gov. McDonnell visiting troops in Afghanistan, Kuwait

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Associated Press & 13News Now

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 24 at 5:46 PM

RICHMOND (AP) -- In the midst of a covert trip to Afghanistan to visit American troops, Gov. Bob McDonnell says he will discuss undisclosed gifts from donor and benefactor Jonnie Williams later.

The governor is part of an official Department of Defense delegation visiting U.S. service members stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan, including members of the Virginia National Guard.

He toured Udairi Army Air Field and held a town hall meeting with constituents from Virginia. Wednesday morning, following breakfast with the troops at the air base, the delegation traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, where they were briefed on operations and met with service members.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Kabul, Afghanistan Wednesday, the governor continued on an apology issued Tuesday when he announced he'd repaid more than $124,000 in loans from Williams. Williams is the chief executive of troubled Virginia nutritional supplements maker Star Scientific Inc.

The governor would not discuss thousands of dollars in gifts, saying there will be a time for that when he returns from his military tour.

McDonnell met with U.S. military commanders in Kuwait and Afghanistan and with troops from Virginia.

In a press release Wednesday, McDonnell said, "On behalf of all Virginians, I have thanked our men and women in uniform for their selfless service in defense of the liberty and freedom we hold so dear. Freedom is not free, and the courageous men and women of the American military are heroes. We salute them.”

He visits an Army hospital in Germany before returning to Virginia Friday.

AP-WF-07-24-13 1440GMT

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