Gov. Deval Patrick has made an unannounced trip to Iraq.
Patrick traveled to the war zone with four other governors to visit National Guard troops. There are currently more than 1,100 Massachusetts National Guard troops in the region.
The governor told New England Cable News that the troops — some on their second or third tours — find the situation on the ground is much calmer than during previous tours.
"The drawdown seems to be orderly, and in fact, ahead of schedule," Patrick said. "Our Massachusetts servicemen and women, those I have met, seem to be thoroughly professional in understanding their mission and executing it."
As governor, Patrick heads the state's National Guard contingent. He also has made it a practice to attend the funerals of all Massachusetts service members killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Other governors traveling with Patrick are Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Jim Douglas of Vermont, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Jay Nixon of Missouri.
Patrick disappeared from public view Tuesday morning after a scheduled visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. His office said the trip was kept quiet for security reasons.
This program aired on July 21, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.