The White House has released the full text of Vice President Mike Pence's speech as delivered Friday morning at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta:
REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE
TO TROOPS AND FAMILY MEMBERS
PHOTOS | VP Mike Pence speaks at Dobbins ARB
Dobbins Air Reserve Base
11:08 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much, General. It is great to be in Georgia at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, a place of history and consequence in the life of this nation. (Applause.)
It’s wonderful to see you all, servicemen and women in uniform and also your wonderful families. And I bring greetings from your Commander-in-Chief, a tireless defender of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I want to thank General Parker for welcoming us here today and for his great leadership of the 94th Air Wing.
And thank you to all leadership of this Air Reserve Base that's here with us today -- General Stokes, General Jarrard, General Simmons, and General Blackstock. We are so proud of the leadership and the men and women who serve at this great Air Reserve base. Could you give them all a big round of applause? They sure deserve it. (Applause.)
And let also say I really enjoyed bringing some congressmen home to you today. I hope you saw them come off the plane. These are extraordinary men of principle -- who I can tell you having served with a few of them in the House of Representatives myself -- represent your state and represent your state’s values so well -- Congressman Tom Graves, Congressman Doug Collins, Congressman Barry Loudermilk, Congressman Drew Ferguson, and Congressman Austin Scott. Would you give them and their families a big round of applause? (Applause.)
And to all the men and women who serve here at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and your families who are here, it really is my honor to be with you today.
It’s a particular honor, only four days after the anniversary of D-Day, to be here with a veteran of the Second World War. He joined the Navy on the day he turned 17, and I haven’t spotted him yet. But Mr. Allan Hall is with us today. And on behalf of the American people and your entire generation, Allan, thank you for your service. (Applause.)
The Good Book says: If you owe debts, pay debts. If honor, then honor. If respect, then respect.
I stand before you today on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, simply to pay a debt of honor and gratitude and respect to each one of you who stepped forward and put on the uniform of the United States. You've earned the well-deserved respect of the President of the United States, the people of Georgia, and the American people. The American people are proud of the men and women who serve in our armed forces at every level, and I’m here to tell you that. (Applause.)
You are the sons and daughters of freedom, and now you have stood up and stepped forward to defend that freedom in the uniform of the United States. You’re patriots, all; heroes, all. You are the best of us, and everyone here in Georgia and every American is grateful to you. So I’m here today more than anything else to say thank you for your service. Thank you for your courage.
And as the proud father of a United States Marine, let me also just take a moment to give these soldiers a chance to say thanks to all the family members who are with us here today who make it possible for the men and women of our Guard and Reserve to serve. (Applause.)
The truth is your loved ones enlist, but it’s families who serve. And I know that well. So I just want to express again my appreciation for everyone who keeps the home fires burning. When you're sent overseas, as some in this unit are as we speak, it’s the families that take care of things at home and give you the peace of mind to be able to step forward and serve our country.
But let’s just take a minute and marvel at where we are today in this extraordinary place known as Dobbins Air Reserve Base. It’s been a bastion of American strength for over 70 years. Since 1943, the air wings stationed here and the aircraft built here have flown for freedom across the globe -- over Europe and the Pacific in World War Two, over Korea and Vietnam, in Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom, and essentially every conflict in between.
As I prepared to come before you today, I learned that personnel from this base are, as we speak, downrange, in harm’s way, serving freedom and serving the people of the United States with distinction, as people from Dobbins Air Reserve Base have done over the course of these more than seven decades.
It's remarkable to think that Dobbins Air Reserve Base is now the largest multi-service training base anywhere in the world. (Applause.)
Here, our men and women in uniform train for combat and ready themselves for deployment at a moment’s notice. Four hundred and ten airmen from the 94th are deployed overseas as we speak, and they’re in our hearts and in our prayers.
In my last job, as governor of Indiana, I had the high honor to serve as commander-in-chief of the Indiana National Guard. It was the greatest privilege I had in that role. So I know firsthand the importance of our guardsmen and our reservists, and the heroic service that you and your families render. You serve both “community and country” and you complete the “total force” -- and make no mistake about it, you represent the unbreakable backbone of American freedom. And you have our deepest respect. (Applause.)
To all in our Guard and Reserve, know that your Commander-in-Chief is grateful for your service. And I'm here to tell you President Donald Trump is the best friend the Armed Forces of the United States will ever have. (Applause.)
You know, I can tell you, I told the President I was headed this way, and he wanted me to give you his thanks and his warmest respects and regards.
Serving with him every day, I can assure you President Donald Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people, and to protect our nation, this President has committed this administration and called on this Congress to make historic investments in our national defense. And this we will do. (Applause.)
Now, just a few weeks ago, speaking before your brothers and sisters in arms stationed in Italy, our President, rightly, said, in his words, the men and women of the U.S. military have been the greatest force for peace and justice in the history of the world. And since day one of our administration, President Trump has been fighting tirelessly to rebuild our military, restore the arsenal of democracy. And we will once again give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserve and Guard the resources and the training you need to accomplish your mission to protect our country and come home safe. That is our pledge to you. (Applause.)
And let me assure you, it's not just talk. Working with these distinguished members of Congress last month, the President signed a $21 billion increase in funding for the Armed Forces of the United States. It was the largest investment in military readiness in nearly 10 years. (Applause.)
And just a few weeks ago, President Donald Trump sent his first budget to Capitol Hill and laid out our plans to work with this Congress, and we're going to pass the largest increase in military spending since the days of Ronald Reagan. We're going to get it done and we're going to rebuild our military. (Applause.)
Men and women of Dobbins Air Reserve Base, you heard it from me: The era of budget cuts to the American Armed Forces is over and a new era of American strength has begun. (Applause.)
Our President is determined to work with the Congress to make the strongest fighting force in history stronger still. And with renewed strength, our President is restoring America’s rightful place in the world.
It really was inspiring, wasn’t it, to see the President’s leadership on the world stage during his historic trip to Europe and the Middle East just a few weeks ago. He affirmed our old alliances; he forged new partnerships. And every step of the way, we saw this President stepping without apology into America’s role as leader of the free world. And under President Donald Trump, America will lead again. (Applause.)
And this Commander-in-Chief made it clear we're going to stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies. And under President Trump’s leadership, the strength of America’s Armed Forces will come together, and we will hunt down and destroy ISIS at its sources, and we will drive the cancer of radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth. (Applause.)
It seems like every day, we have another gruesome reminder of the threat that global terrorism places on our people and on our allies. It represents the greatest threat facing our nation and our way of life. In just the past week alone, we’ve seen horrific terrorist attacks in our cherished allies, Australia and the United Kingdom. Our hearts break for the families of the victims and the injured in London, and Melbourne. They're the latest innocents to suffer at the hands of terrorists, joining those who fell in Manchester, Kabul, Paris, Istanbul, Brussels, Berlin, San Bernardino, and so many others from barbaric acts of terrorism. They and their families have our prayers.
But more than that, they have our unwavering resolve. As this President said earlier this week, with the strength of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and the resolve of the American people, this bloodshed will end. I promise you.
As we speak, your brothers and sisters in uniform are taking the fight to terrorists on our terms on, their soil, and people from this base are in the fight. ISIS is on the run in Syria. They’re on the run in Iraq. We’re driving them out of Mosul. We’re driving them toward their capital of Raqqa. And President Donald Trump will not rest and will not relent until we destroy ISIS at its source so it can no longer threaten our people or threaten our allies or freedoms around the world. (Applause.)
But in this time of widening challenges and unknowable threats, all of you must continue to be ready. Brave men and women of Dobbins Air Reserve Base may yet be called upon again in a wider way to be instruments of American power. And when that day comes, your Commander-in-Chief and I know you’ll be prepared to do what those who have gone before have done. For you know full well, in this place and in the great state of Georgia, as the Old Book says, the soldier does not bear the sword in vain. We know you will be ready when you are called.
While we must always work and hope and pray for peace, the best way to protect the peace is for our adversaries to know without exception that America is always prepared to fight and win any contest, any struggle, any war where the freedom and national interests of the United States of America are at stake. (Applause.)
Under President Trump, the United States will be strong -- stronger than ever before. We’ll be strong in arms. We’ll be strong in will. And just as we have been since the hour of our nation’s birth, under President Trump, America will be strong in our conviction that our cause is just and freedom is worth defending.
And I truly do stand before you today very humbled. See, I’m the father of a Marine, and I’m the son of a combat veteran. But unlike those of you that are proudly wearing the green today, my life didn’t take me into the uniform of the United States. But as I stand before you today as I’ve had the privilege to stand before men and women in uniform across this country and around the world, I can just tell you: I look in your eyes, I see your determination, I know of your professionalism, and I know of the sacrifices of you and your family, and I have faith. I have faith that together with you, standing on the ramparts of freedom, that we will make America safe again. And we will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase, strongly standing with our military here in Georgia and all across the nation and all across the world, we will make America great again. (Applause.)
Thank you all very much. Thank you for coming out. And thank you for you service to the United States of America. God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 11:24 A.M. EDT