Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: How about a big round of applause for Admiral Harry Harris, everybody? This is a great, great leader. (Applause.)
Admiral, thank you for that kind introduction. Thank you for your resolute leadership of the U.S. Pacific Command at this pivotal time in the life of our nation. I’m very humbled to be with all of you. Thank you so much for the warm welcome. And most especially, I bring greetings on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
The President — we’re on our way back to Washington, D.C. We’ll be back to work at the White House tomorrow morning, but the President wanted me to come by today just to tell you how grateful we all are for your service. And as he said to me, just tell them I’m proud of them. And I promise all of you, the American people are proud of every man and woman in this room. Give yourselves another round of applause. Thank you for serving your country. (Applause.)
I just had a chance to visit with a family member of mine, Master Sergeant Jimmy Leseune (ph), who is Air Force.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Ooorah!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He and his family are here in Hawaii, and he’s been in the service I think upwards to 18 years.
And as the Admiral said, I’m not a soldier. My life didn’t take me into the uniform that every one of you have put on voluntarily, but I am the son of a soldier, a combat veteran who served in the Korean War. And I’m the proud father of a United States Marine. And so I stand before you today deeply humbled — deeply humbled because I really speak on behalf of the hundreds of millions of Americans, who each and every day benefit by the services and the sacrifices that you and your families make on our behalf.
And I just really came by to say thanks. Thank you for stepping forward to serve your country; and also to assure you that in these days that lie ahead, in these uncertain times, people who serve here at U.S. Pacific Command will know that in your Commander-in-Chief, you have a President who is going to fight to rebuild our military, restore the arsenal of democracy. And we’re going to give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources you need to accomplish your mission for the American people. We’re going to do it.
Even this week, my fellow Americans, I can tell you I’m headed back to Capitol Hill. There’s a spending bill that’s being considered as we speak. The President is working even in what remains of this budget year to begin to supplement our military spending. The President truly believes that the time has come for us to rebuild this military.
And the budget that the President submitted you may be glad to know had the largest single-year increase in military spending since the days of the Reagan administration. (Applause.)
It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to a President who cares so deeply about the men and women of our armed forces, their families, and our veterans. And I know in my heart President Donald Trump is going to be the best friend the American Armed Forces have ever had in the White House.
With that said, let me close by simply thanking you. Thanking you from the bottom of my heart for being willing to step forward and volunteer to wear the uniform of the United States of America.
It’s not lost on any American that the way that you arrive in those uniforms which you’re wearing from all the different branches of the service are because you stepped forward. I was speaking to one young airman a little bit ago, and she told me that she just felt early on the calling to serve. And I thanked her for answering that call.
And each one of you have responded to the call of your country. And I just want you to know that it is going to be to your eternal credit that here in this time in the life of our nation, you stepped forward and you said yes to America.
So I’m here basically to do two things: To assure you of our thanks, the admiration and gratitude of your Commander-in-Chief, and the gratitude of the American people for the service that you render here in this place. But also I’m here to assure you of their prayers. The American people are grateful every day for those who serve around the globe — whether it be the U.S. Pacific Command or in far-flung places in the world, oftentimes separated for months at a time from your families, I want you to know that as you go, you go with our gratitude. And you go with our prayers.
Each one of you carries with you the strength of this nation and the pride of this nation. And on behalf of your President and on behalf of the American people, I say from my heart, God bless you. Thank you for your service and God bless America. (Applause.)