Watch the President's full remarks here.
Yesterday, President Obama visited Fort Drum to thank soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division who had returned from Afghanistan this spring and meet with Gold Star Families. In an address to the nation a day earlier, the President announced his plan to remove 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and a total of 33,000 by next summer.
At Fort Drum, the President thanked the men and women in uniform for their sacrifice and the sacrifices of their families, before shaking hands with each soldier.
So the main message I have for all of you here today is that the American people understand the sacrifices you’re making; they understand the sacrifices that your families are making. Our job is not finished.
If you looked at the schedule that I set forth, we’re only bringing out 10,000 by the end of this year. We’re going to bring out all 33,000 that we surged by next summer. But there’s still some fighting to be done. And then we’re still going to have 68,000. And, frankly, the 10th Mountain Division is still going to be represented there until we have fully transferred to the Afghan military and security forces.
But I hope that all of you can both take pride in what you’ve done over the past years, but also understand that there’s a future there that is brighter not only for the Afghan people, but for -- most importantly, for American security. And you guys are the tip of the spear. You guys are the ones that keep us safe each and every day.
So, for all the sacrifices that you’ve made, I want to say thank you. For all the sacrifices that your families have made, I want to say thank you. I have no greater job; nothing gives me more honor than serving as your Commander-in-Chief. And to all of you who are potentially going to be redeployed, just know that your Commander-in-Chief has your back.