"America's Last Frontier"

President Greets Troops in Alaska

President Barack Obama greets troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska en route to Tokyo on Nov. 12, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 12, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

En route to Tokyo, the President made a special stop to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska—"America’s Last Frontier."  In his first visit to the state, against a stunning backdrop of snow-covered mountains, the President pledged his support to the brave men and women who sacrifice every day and outlined what he and his Administration have been working on to ensure active servicemembers, their families, and veterans are well taken care of both at home and on foreign soil:

There are no words that are strong enough and no tribute worthy enough to match the magnitude of such service.  But to you and all who serve, I say this:  The American people thank you.  We honor you.  And just as you have fulfilled your responsibilities to your nation, your nation will fulfill its responsibilities to you.

So as your Commander-in-Chief, here’s the commitment I make to you.  We’ll make sure you can meet the missions we ask of you.  That’s why we’re increasing the defense budget, including spending on the Air Force and the Army.  (Applause.)  We’ll make sure we have the right force structure.  So we’ve halted reductions in the Air Force, increased the size of the Army ahead of schedule and also approved a temporary increase in the Army.

We’ll spend our defense dollars wisely.  So we’re cutting tens of billions of dollars in waste and projects that even the Pentagon says it doesn’t need -- money that's better spent on taking care of you and your families and building the 21st century military that we do need.

I want you guys to understand I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests.  (Applause.)  But I also make you this promise:  I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America's vital interest.  (Applause.)

And if it is necessary, the United States of America will have your back.  We will give you the strategy and the clear mission you deserve.  We will give you the equipment and support that you need to get the job done.  And that includes public support back home.  That is a promise that I make to you.  (Applause.)

Air Force One in Alaska

Air Force One sits on the tarmac as President Barack Obama greets troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska before taking off for Tokyo on Nov. 12, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 12, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Talks to Troops in Alaska

President Barack Obama greets troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska en route to Tokyo on Nov. 12, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 12, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Boards Air Force One En Route to Alaska

President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base en route on his trip to Asia, Nov. 12, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 12, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Related Topics: Veterans, Alaska
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