(CNN) - The husband of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Michael, received a tearful goodbye from his family Thursday as he prepared for a year-long deployment in Afghanistan.
A captain in the South Carolina National Guard, Haley will undergo a month of training in Indiana before beginning his Afghanistan deployment as part of a unit that will teach Afghan farmers to grow sustainable crops.
It’s Haley’s first deployment abroad since joining the National Guard in 2006. Previously he was a platoon leader and the commander of an area support medical company.
Before joining the Guard, he was a businessman. In his role as South Carolina’s “first gentleman,” he has advocated for at-risk youth programs and the state’s foster care system.
At a departure ceremony Thursday in Eastover, the Palmetto State’s Republican governor and her two children, daughter Rena, 14, and son Nalin, 10, hugged their husband and father and wiped away tears alongside the families of other departing servicemen and women.
In a statement on her Facebook page, the GOP governor wrote: “We are a proud military family who understands the sacrifices any family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country. This is what our men and women in uniform sign up for, and although Michael, like his brothers and sisters, is looking forward to his mission, we will miss him while he's away.”
Michael Haley first received deployment orders from the South Carolina National Guard in July. He said then that "this deployment is the reason I joined the National Guard."
A member of the South Carolina National Guard’s 3/49 Agribusiness Development Team, Haley will be involved in teaching Afghan farmers new agricultural techniques with the goal of improving living conditions.
Nikki Haley was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 with backing from the tea party. She became the state’s first female governor and the second Indian-American elected to a governorship, after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
At 40, she is currently the youngest governor in the country.