By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - The soldier husband of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is deploying to Afghanistan for a year-long stint that begins in January, the governor's office said on Monday.

It will be the first overseas deployment for First Lieutenant Michael Haley, 42, who joined the Army National Guard in 2006.

"This deployment is the reason I joined the National Guard," he said in a statement. "It is important to me to be able to give back."

Nikki Haley, a Republican, was elected governor in 2010. While the governors command National Guard troops and call them up for domestic operations such as disaster response, the U.S. president commands them when they are deployed on federal missions.

Michael Haley said he looked forward to serving but not to being away from his family for a year.

"But in the end, I can't help but to think giving one year along with my fellow soldiers, as many have done before me, to secure a life of freedom for my family is well worth all that comes with it," he said.

The Haleys have two children - daughter Rena, 14, and son Nalin, 10. The governor's brother Mitti also served in the Army.

"As a military sister, and now a military wife, I know the sacrifices a family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country," Haley said in a statement. "I also know the amazing pride we feel in watching them drop everything to serve."

Michael Haley is a strategic plans officer and is deploying as an agricultural storage transport marketing specialist, a National Guard spokesman said.

South Carolina has about 9,300 men and women in the Army National guard and 1,250 in the Air Force National Guard. About 2,000 are currently deployed to Afghanistan.

(Editing by Jane Sutton and Mohammad Zargham)