Gov. Palin headed for Europe to visit troops

From the governor via Twitter:

“Travel now to bring appreciation from their Alaska family & Natl Guard leadership to heroes in US European Command’s area of responsibility”

We had wondered if Gov. Palin was going to return to the Middle East to visit her state’s Guard troops deployed there after she tweeted:

“Got Fed ok for Adjutant Gen Campbell, Command Sgt Major Choate and me to travel to our Ak Army Natl Guard troops on Wed. Glad to go to them”

But now it seems that she’s headed for Europe.

The U.S. European Command — USEUCOM — has a wide area of responsibility:

Prior to the formation of Africa Command in October 2008 the area of responsibility (AOR) of the United States European Command covered more than 13 million square miles and included 91 countries and territories. This territory extends from the North Cape of Norway, through the waters of the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, most of Europe, parts of the Middle East, to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Several other countries and territories were considered to be part of the USEUCOM area of interest (AOI).

Effective 01 October 1998, the AOR of USEUCOM expanded to include six Western Slavic and Caucasus states of the former Soviet Union; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Another six European countries and territories are considered to be within EUCOM’s Area of Interest [AOI]. This is an area of concern to the Commander because of the possibility of current or planned operations. This could also include areas occupied by forces that could jeopardize the accomplishment of the mission. These were Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

On 17 April 2002, Defense officials announced changes in the Unified Command Plan. US European Command (EUCOM) will increase its area of responsibility. EUCOM will include the remainder of the Atlantic area off the East Coast to the shores of the Europe, he said, and it will pick up primary responsibility for Russia. Previously, Russian relations were handled in the Pentagon. U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) will help European Command with the far eastern part of Russia and will add Antarctica to its area of responsibility.

An interactive map of the USEUCOM AOR is here.

One of the countries where Alaska Army National guard troops are deployed is Kosovo, where 140 soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment began a year long deployment in December of 2008 with its eight Blackhawk helicopters.

No reason she can’t go on to the M.E. from Kosovo, however, and we think it’s likely she will stop in Germany to visit the wounded at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center again, as she did in 2007.

Update: ADN and CNN finally reported on the trip hours after RedState.com broke the story. Meanwhile, the governor’s office published this news release on its website.

– JP