Osan Air Base
Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea
5:11 P.M. KST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Osan. Thank you very much. This is great. Oh, that sounds good. (Applause.) But the other, actually, even sounds better, I have to say. Thank you very much. And at ease. At ease, everybody. We’re going to have some fun. (Laughter.)
So we’re about two and a half hours late. I understand, instead of losing people, you actually gained people; I don’t know how that works, but I know it works. You’ve got a hell of a lot of people here. A lot of great — a lot of great military — military people. (Applause.)
So, it was a little unexpected. We’ll tell you — we’re not going to — oh, look at all that media back there. Wow, that’s a lot of media. (Laughter.) That’s a lot. We have a lot of media following us. We’re doing a great job. And I’ll tell you, you’re doing a great job and so important.
But the reason: I met with Kim Jong Un. And we had a great meeting because we’re all in this together. We want to get this thing solved. It’s been going on for a long time. And we had a great meeting. And it was unexpected. I put out yesterday: Maybe I’ll meet with Chairman Kim. And he saw it. Social media. A pretty powerful thing, social media. And we just left.
And I said, “You know, this was unexpected and we’re going to keep a lot of thousands of great military people waiting.” But that’s what you do; you love your country. And that was a good thing to do. Right? I said, “They’ll understand. They’ll understand.” Right? (Applause.) I said, “They’ll understand.”
So I’m thrilled to be here this afternoon with the very heroic men and women of the U.S. Air Forces Korea. And a great place, great country. Beautiful country. And I’ve toured it all.
You know,someday I’m going to get back home to — I’ve been doing this for a long time now. It’s been a long time. It’s been days and — I left Japan. I met with every leader — presidents, prime ministers, dictators. I met them all. (Laughter.)
And our country is doing well. You know, our country has probably never had a better economy than we have right now. (Applause.) Never had. We’re doing great. And it’s nice to know you’re doing — you know, you’re fighting. You’re our great people, and you’re fighting and you’re fighting hard. And you’re — just your presence. You have a presence like no other, like no others.
So, as President, I have no greater honor than to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the greatest fighting force on the face of the Earth, the United States military. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
So when I met with, as you know, President Moon, also, we just — in fact, he just called me again. He’s so happy. He’s so thrilled. And we met at the DMZ. And it was something incredible. I got to see the DMZ. I got to see a lot of your fighting comrades. And we talked to them. In fact, I gave one little speech to a group of guys. I gave another little speech to a group.
Then, I met with Chairman — Chairman Kim. Then I came out. Then I met with President Moon. Then I gave another speech to a group of guys. And now I’m giving a speech to a big group of people. (Applause.) And a good-looking group.
But it’s really very — we had a very productive meeting. I outlined the incredible prosperity that awaits North Korea when this whole thing gets settled. They have been talking about this for a long time. But that’s a country with tremendous potential. And I’ve had a good relationship with Chairman Kim. You know that. You see what’s happening. It’s been a lot different.
They were giving us a great briefing right at the DMZ. And they said it was so different before we had the meeting — the big summit in Singapore. It was different. It was really hostile. You understand it better than anybody. It was really hostile. And since our first meeting in Singapore, we got along. We got along. We had a great kind of feeling.
And when you go back home, you’ll see it tonight on television. You’ll see it wherever you see it. Today, there’s so many forms of looking at things, it’s hard to believe. As soon as you pick one, another one comes up and the first one is obsolete. But whichever way you look, you’re going to see some really nice — it’s —
I actually stepped in with Chairman Kim. I stepped into North Korea. And they say — (applause). And they say that’s a very historic moment. And I think it is a historic moment and a very good moment. And — he asked me, “Would you like to do that?” And I said, “It would be my honor.”
And we did. And we went over the line and turned around. And everybody was so happy. And many people, I noticed, from Korea were literally in tears, crying. Crying. Because it was a big thing. It’s a big thing.
And we’re now going to work on something. We have a tremendous team of people that know how to do this. And we’re going to put them in charge. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is here. Where is Mike? Is he here? Where is he? Where is Mike? Where is our Secretary of State? (Applause.)
Mike. Come up here, Mike. (Applause.) Come up, Mike. And you know who else I have? Has anyone ever heard of Ivanka? (Applause.) All right, come up, Ivanka. Come on. She’s going to steal the show. (Applause.) She’ll steal it. What a beautiful couple. (Laughter.) Mike — beauty and the beast, Mike. (Laughter.)
And you know we have our great ambassador — our new ambassador, who is so fantastic. One of the truly great admirals became ambassador — Harry. So thank you very much, Harry. You’re right over here. Thank you.
Look at these two. (Applause.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: It is great to be with you all. It’s wonderful to get a chance to see such wonderful fighting men and women. Thank you for what you do to serve America each and every day. Bless you all. (Applause.)
MS. IVANKA TRUMP: God bless America. And God bless each and every one of you for being out here and for everything that you do, and your sacrifice, and your service. We are very, very grateful to you and your loved ones who serve our nation out of uniform. So thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you both. They made the trip with me and we spent a lot of time — a lot of time. Tremendous — actually, it was a tremendous three days, and it never ends. We have to work hard. We’re catching up. A lot of things could’ve been done over the years and they weren’t done, and we’re getting them done. We’re getting them done for you.
We’re joined today by some of the tremendous military leaders that have helped in that process of success. General Robert “Abe” Abrams. Where’s Robert? (Applause.) Abe. Where is he? (Applause.) And you know that great Abrams tank is in his family. Named after his father. Did you know that? (Applause.) That’s pretty impressive. And his father was very proud of his son. Thank you very much. Thank you, General. Very proud of his son. He knew from the beginning his son was going to be winner.
And Command Sergeant Major “Tag.” (Applause.) Sergeant Major Tag. Where the hell? Boy, he’s got such — you know, they say, “Don’t name his last name, sir. Nobody wants to hear it today. Just say, ‘Sargent Major Tag.'” Where are you? Boy, this guy’s a legend, I’ll tell you. No last name. See, I know people like that. (Laughter.)
Lieutenant General Ken “Cruiser” Wilsbach. Where is Wilsbach? (Applause.) Thank you.
And Commander — Command Chief Master Sergeant Phil Hudson of the 7th Air Force. (Applause.) Where’s Phil? Thank you, Phil. (Applause.)
Lieutenant General Michael Bills. Michael? Thank you. (Applause.)
And Command Sergeant Major Jason Schmidt of the 8th Army. Thank you. (Applause.)
Major General Bradley James and Sergeant Major Michael Saucedo. Saucedo. Right? That’s good, yes? (Applause.) Thank you.
Brigadier General Otto Liller. (Applause.) A fighter.
Command Master Chief Petty Officer Stephen White. (Applause.) Special Operations.
And Command Master Chief Petty Officer Chris Detje. (Applause.) Naval Forces Korea. Detje. (Applause.) Where’s Chris? Where are you, Chris? Hi, Chris.
I especially want to thank Colonel John Gonzales. You know Colonel John Gonzales? (Applause.) He’s supposed to be a tough cookie and a winner.
And Chief Master Sergeant Adam Vizi. (Applause.) Adam. Thank you, Adam.
Finally, we are pleased to have with us several of our friends from South Korea this afternoon. General Choi. Where’s General Choi? General Choi. Thank you, General. Great job. (Applause.) Deputy Commander Combined Forces. And I want to thank — I hear, General — I hear you’re doing a hell of a job. Lieutenant General Hwang Seong Ji and Chief Master Sergeant Lee Sung Ill of the Air Force Operations Command. And I hear they’re very tough. Are they very tough? Yeah, they’re tough. (Applause.) That’s great.
To all of the service members from U.S. Forces Korea: Today, I am here to tell you that 330 million American hearts beat with a gratitude for your selfless service.
We’re also joined by many amazing military spouses and families. Those families and those spouses, they keep you going. You wouldn’t be the same without them. We know that. Right? (Applause.) Sometimes we don’t want to admit it. We never like to admit it, do we? But it’s so true. Right? That’s right. Right there, he’s pointing. That’s right.
America is forever grateful for your service and for your devotion. With us today is Master Sergeant Cole Waterbury and his wife Jamie Waterbury. Where are you? (Applause.) Where are you? Where? (Applause.) Good-looking group.
They met when Jamie was also in the Air Force. Jamie served on active duty in the Air Force for four years, and then joined her husband through six different assignments in three different countries.
Jamie recently earned the Presidential Lifetime Achievement award for her 4,000 hours of volunteer work on behalf of the military community. That’s incredible. Jamie, you embody the greatness of America’s military families and we want to thank you. Give her a big hand. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Jamie. (Applause.)
This afternoon, we’re delighted to be joined by hundreds of brave airmen and women from the United States Air Force. Among them are members of the 8th Fighter Wing, the 51st Fighter Wing, and the 7th Air Force. (Applause.)
Many soldiers here today just celebrated the 75th anniversary of the 8th Army. (Applause.) Seventy-five years. You know, I just returned from Normandy. That was something. That was something very special, when you talk about anniversaries.
We are proudly joined by members of the 8th Army’s Second Infantry Division. Thank you. You can let it all out. Let’s see who is the most powerful. Let it out.
And the 19th Expeditionary Support Command. Where are you? (Applause.)
The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. Where are you? (Applause.)
The 1st Signal and the 501st Military Intelligence Brigades. Where are you? (Applause.)
The 65th Medical Brigade — (applause) — as well as soldiers from the 8th Army Headquarters. Thank you all. Thank you all for being here. (Applause.)
Also with us are men and women of the U.S. Army Garrison Daegu. (Applause.) You know that. Along with those from Yongsan, and — famous, really — that’s really very famous for Camp Humphreys. Camp Humphreys. (Applause.) A pretty famous place.
And of course, joining us today are the brave United States Marines. I know there’s plenty of you. (Applause.) Along with sailors of the United States Navy and the fearless fighters of the Special Operations Command Korea. What a group of people. (Applause.)
And I want to get every name out. I don’t care that I want to get the hell back on that big plane. (Laughter.) I got to get them all out. I could have done an abbreviated version, but we don’t want to do that. We just want to stand here and have a good time. We’re going to have a good time tonight. (Applause.)
Together, the men and women of America’s Armed Forces are the most extraordinary warriors ever to walk the face of the Earth. You stand ready to vanquish any danger and deliver the full might of American justice whenever and wherever duty calls. There’s nobody like you. You’re special people.
You’re prepared to deter, defeat, and defend against any threat. You live by the famous U.S. Forces Korea motto: “We Go Together.” We go together.
Many of our soldiers here today also serve with the 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea U.S. Combined Division, the only forward-based army division integrated with Allied troops.
This past April, soldiers from this division mobilized to fight wildfires northeast of Seoul. I heard you were fantastic, by the way. Fantastic job. (Applause.) Your valiant actions helped save thousands of homes and countless numbers of lives. Congratulations on a job well done. Everyone was talking about it. You walk in the footsteps of American patriots down through history.
In the summer of 2018, this air base hosted the United Nations Command repatriation of fallen service members from the Korean War. It was a beautiful thing to see. It was beautiful. (Applause.)
And they came in — (applause) — and you saw what happened — came into Hawaii. Vice President Mike Pence was there to greet. These were our great, great heroes. And they’re coming back. They’re coming back. Along with, as you know, we have our hostages back. And just things are so different. So different.
So I want to thank you all for helping to give our beloved heroes the homecoming that they deserve. That was a homecoming after many, many decades. With us today — that’s right. (Applause.)
With us today is Master Sergeant Hunter Lindblad of the 7th Air Force. Hunter was born in Seoul. After five months — when he was five months old — he was flown from Incheon to New York City, where he was adopted by a loving American family.
Twenty-five years later, in 2010, Hunter returned to South Korea for the first time, as an intrepid airman of the United States Air Force. He is now completing his third tour of duty in South Korea, where he serves as a contingency and exercise — it’s an incredible job — planner, helping our forces to achieve unrivaled skill, precision, and speed.
Hunter, your story exemplifies the enduring bonds between the American and South Korean people. And I will say this: The folks here, all of them, especially the ones that really know you, they respect you a lot and they respect what you’ve done. Where is Hunter? (Applause.) Thank you, Hunter. Thank you.
Also here today is Air Force Captain Jin Lee. Jin spent his childhood outside of Pohang, South Korea. At age 13, he came to the United States, became an American citizen, and, after college, joined the United States Air Force.
When he was a child in South Korea, Jin heard stories about the righteous might of American warriors, and he liked those stories. Captain Lee, now you are one of the heroes defending our nation, respected by all. You make us all proud. Where are you? (Applause.) Thank you very much.
The service members here at Osan have served all over the world, including in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in our campaign against the bloodthirsty killers known as ISIS. And, you know, in Syria, we took 100 percent of the caliphate. We took it very quickly — very, very quickly — recently and quickly.
No matter where danger lurks, you’re always “Ready to Fight Tonight.” You know that motto. “Ready to Fight Tonight.” And you are.
With your help, the ISIS caliphate in Iraq went and other places went. And that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to see places blown up — a store, a street corner — by somebody who who happens to be crazy. They’re crazy. But the fact is, we took 100 percent of the land, the area. And we took it very easily. And we got to let people know on the Internet, because probably nobody uses the Internet and gives more bullshit over the Internet than ISIS. (Laughter and applause.) You people use it better.
Let me thank every warrior in the audience who served that righteous mission. You really were fantastic, and you are fantastic, and we all salute you. Thank you very much.
Our nation will never forget the sacrifices of every American service member here today and those stationed throughout the world. No force on Earth can match the courage, the spirit, virtue, the grit of the American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine.
Under my administration, we have made historic investments in our military with 700 billion — with a “B” — dollars last year. And, this year — think of that. Seven hundred — you know what 700 billion is? But you needed it. We were getting depleted. You people know it better than anybody. We were getting — the planes were old. The equipment was old.
This year, $716 billion fully approved, ready to go. We’re giving our armed forces the resources — (applause). And we’re giving our armed forces the resources, tools, and support you need to fight and win.
Our new budget calls for — listen to this; you’ll love this — 78 F-35s. Stealth, right? Stealth. (Applause.) They say they’re hard to beat because you can’t see them, literally. I’ve gone to some of the great pilots; I say, “What do you think of the F-35? How does the enemy do?” “Well, they have a problem: They can’t see it, sir.” I mean, that’s pretty much it, right? We’ve got a lot of them.
Twenty-four F/A-18s — brand new. And eight new F-15Xs — you like that plane, right? (Applause.)
And, by the way, the Warthog right behind me is not so bad. You know that, right? (Applause.) I’ve got more people asking us to keep the Warthog — look. Look. They say it’s sort of running out, but we’re fixing up — you know, we’re going to keep them as long as we can. But people love them. Are they that good? (Applause.)
Senator Martha McSally flew Warthogs. And every time I see her, she said, “Please don’t let the Warthog go.” It’s just a very great machine, and we’re looking at ways that maybe we can keep it around a little bit longer.
It also asks for — our budget — 146 cutting-edge Black Hawk and Apache helicopters — (applause); 165 improved Abrams tanks. You hear that, General Abrams? Abrams tanks. The best tank in the world. And so much more. In the next year alone, we want to buy 12 new warships, including an aircraft carrier; three advanced submarines — nuclear versions only; three guided missile destroyers; icebreakers; frigates. You name it, we’re buying it. (Laughter and applause.) And we’re proud to say it’s made in America, so it’s okay. (Applause.)
We want you to have nothing but the very best equipment. That’s what you have. Look, it was depleted. It was sadly depleted. Some of your planes — you knew better than anybody — you’d have to go into the graveyard in the desert, where they keep the old planes and look for parts and try and scavenge parts. It was ridiculous. It was ridiculous. I heard stories where the grandson of the people that flew a plane when it was new — they’re still flying the same plane. Not anymore. You have hundreds and hundreds of planes coming in. You have great new equipment.
Very shortly, we will have the most ready, the best — we already have the best military in the world, but we’re going to have it at a level that we’ve never been at before. Our equipment — whether it’s the missiles or the planes or the ships or the equipment for the soldiers. It doesn’t matter. We have the best, and we have the budget to do it.
And that wasn’t easy because, I will tell you — this is not a political speech, but the Democrats were not going to give it you. That I can tell you. (Laughter and applause.) They weren’t going to give it to you, folks. They weren’t going to. They want open borders and the hell with the military. That’s not good.
But you don’t have to worry about that, do you? We never had it better. And, you know, one thing I didn’t mention: You also got very nice pay raises for the last couple of years. Congratulations. (Applause.) Oh, you care about that. They care about that. I didn’t think you noticed.
Yeah, you were entitled. You know, it was close to 10 years before you had an increase. Ten years. And we said, “It’s time.” And you got a couple of good ones, big ones, nice ones. And you love what you do, but it’s nice to well compensated.
You must be armed with overwhelming force. You have to be, especially in this world. We’re living in an incredibly dangerous world. And, you know, hopefully when we build this military and we have it so strong — it’s getting to a point now where it’s going to be at a level that wasn’t even close. Hopefully, we never have to use it, you know? But by having it and having this tremendous strength, it’s much more likely that we won’t have to use it.
So we’re doing that and we’re very proud of all of you. No one ever stands a chance against the mighty Stars and Stripes, and they never will. We’re going to keep it strong, and we’re going to keep you happy, and we’re going to have the best equipment, and there’ll never be anything like what we’re doing. Thank you. (Applause.)
We’re also investing billions of dollars in upgrades to our missile defense system. And I understand that our 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade is — who are those? Where are you folks? (Applause.) So you’re happy about that, right? You see the difference. Is that correct? You see a lot of money coming in, and a lot of great stuff.
We’re totally revamping and improving and, in some cases, getting brand new nuclear weapons. Never want to have to use them, but we have the best in the world — the most in the world and the best in the world. And they’re being upgraded very substantially. And, in some cases, we getting brand new. Never want to use it.
Our greatest asset, our most powerful weapon will always be you. No matter what we do, it’s always going to be the American warrior because there’s no warrior like you. (Applause.) No is tougher and no one is braver. You’re beloved by our citizens. You have no idea how much our people love our military. And I can say it, too: law enforcement. They love our law enforcement — what they go through, what the law enforcement.
Border Patrol, ICE, our sheriffs, our everybody — these are great, great people. You are great, great people. You’re feared by your foes, and you’re respected by all. You are so respected, and I just want you to know that. Sometimes you don’t hear that. You don’t hear it enough. You are totally respected. And, I can tell you, there’s nobody that respects the military more than your President, Donald Trump. Nobody. Nobody. (Applause.)
With us today is a perfect symbol of the endurance that we’re talking about: Staff Sergeant Timothy Dischinat. Where’s Timothy? Timothy. Hello, Timothy. At the age nineteen, Timothy was diagnosed with cancer. After recovering from surgery and going into remission, Timothy decided he wanted to join the military.
He found an Air Force recruiter who helped him enlist, and he’s has now served with distinction in the Air Force for nearly seven years. And he is a tough, strong guy. Staff Sergeant Dischinat, your strength is an inspiration to us all. I want to just tell you: great job. He was a very — had a really big problem, and he beat it. That was a tough fight. That was a tough battle. Congratulations, Timothy. (Applause.)
The men and women stationed in this country showcase the very best of America to this region and to the entire world. And they watch you and they look. I told you: I got back from Japan. They’re watching you. You have some folks over in Japan — your friends, your brothers, your sisters. They’re incredible. They’re incredible.
But you inherit a military tradition defined by the timeless values of loyalty, honor, courage, and patriotic devotion. You carry on a priceless heritage of warriors who have always risen to the challenge in America’s hours of need. We’ve had tremendous hours of need — times where it looked like it just wasn’t going to happen. And that’s when our military always stepped up and just decimated anything in front of it.
You’re writing the next chapter in a legacy passed down from generation to generation — from Concord Bridge to Belleau Wood, the Battle Green to the Battle of the Bulge, and through all 243 years of glorious American liberty.
When I return home to the White House, I will celebrate Independence Day with a special “Salute to America” on our National Mall. July 4th. I hope everybody can be there. It’s going to be big. We’re making it especially big because we’re more proud of our country today than we have been in many, many, many decades.
I want you to know that, as we pay tribute to armed forces this July 4th, we will be thinking of you — the brave service members far from home, preserving American independence and all of that American great, great feeling of independence, and defending our great American flag. (Applause.)
Americans are born free, and as long as we have brave soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, we know that our freedom will never, ever die.
On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank you again to everyone at Osan Air Base — and these are special — this is special not only people, but now you have special equipment. Sometimes it’s nice to have the equipment to go.
So, Osan, I want to just thank you, everybody here. To every patriot who proudly serves under the red, white, and blue: God bless you, God bless our military, and God bless America.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. (Applause.)