Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is currently overseas, paying a visit to Pennsylvania National Guard members in Poland and Lithuania. The Governor left for his 8-day trip Sunday. It’s a trip the Governor calls long-overdue.

“I’m going to visit with these troops, I’m going to eat meals alongside them, I’m going to see them as they train, and most importantly I’m going to thank them personally for their service and for the sacrifice they’re making for all of us,” Governor Wolf says.

Governor Wolf is the first Pennsylvania Governor to visit Pennsylvania National Guard members overseas. There are around 530 guard members in Orzysz, Poland serving a year-long deployment as part of the Enhanced Forward Presence in support of the NATO Battle Group Poland. There are just about 30 guard members training alongside Lithuanian Armed Forces in Pabrade as part of an ongoing partnership between Pennsylvania and Lithuania. Military leaders say the trip will be a great opportunity to strengthen ties.

“I’ll tell you the Lithuanian staff, the U.S. Embassy staff in Lithuania are extremely excited for this opportunity, and what this means for the future of our partnership,” explains Major General Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s Adjutant General.

Governor Wolf will also meet with Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda and other dignitaries to engage in business development for Pennsylvania, and tour cultural sites. The Governor will wrap up his overseas trip by visiting two Holocaust memorials: The Paneriai memorial in Lithuania, and Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, bringing with him a mezuzah damaged at the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh.

“I plan to write the names of the 11 Pennsylvanians who lost their lives in the anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in the books at both sites to honor their memories,” says Governor Wolf.

Governor Wolf is covering his own travel and lodging costs, and is taking a three-person staff, which he says will keep the cost to taxpayers to a minimum.