1:32 P.M. GMT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Morning, everybody. We’re the Pences.
TROOPS: Morning, sir!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Great to see you all. And thank you for your service. This is — now, is this your unit out of Fort Worth and National Guard? Is this where —
LIEUTENANT COLONEL KELLEY: Fort Bliss. But it’s a combination. This is mostly the National Guard guys and (inaudible).
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Okay, so this is National Guard?
LIEUTENANT COLONEL KELLEY: Some of my guys are over there, sir.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Okay, well, Fort Bliss and National Guard. Great.
Well, let me — this is my wife, Karen. We are really delighted to have a chance to see you all — to see you all. On behalf of your Commander-in-Chief: Thank you for your service to America.
And we just look forward to meeting as many of you as time permits. I know you’re headed to a deployment in Iraq. A critical time. We know you’re going to distinguish yourselves and serve your nation well. And you go with the gratitude of the American people and our prayers. Okay?
So thank you all. Thank you for your service. (Applause.) God bless you (inaudible).
I need to say “at ease.” You all need to relax. (Laughter.) Nice to you all.
(The Vice President proceeds to greet troops.)
All right, bring it in. Who do we have here, Kelley?
LIEUTENANT COLONEL KELLEY: Sir, this is 2-43 ADA Battalion. This is the Patriot battalion based out of Fort Bliss, Texas, that is (inaudible).
THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right. (Applause.) Let’s hear it for Warrior battalion, everybody. Come on!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, listen, I’m just passing through just like you, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to get off Air Force Two and tell you how grateful we are to each and every one of you and your families that are going to keep the home fires burning during this deployment.
We’re proud of you, grateful for you. I know if your Commander-in-Chief was standing here, he would say the very same thing. And we want to thank you for your service to the country. You’re going to be deployed to a region of the world that’s seen some action in the last several weeks. But I can tell you, all of our information is: Iran continues to stand down, because we demonstrated American strength, and it was our military personnel on the ground that responded with incredible professionalism.
And I want to promise you, we’re going to make sure you have the resources, the support, and the force protection to accomplish your mission in the next nine months. Okay?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And beyond that, I’m just going to take as many selfies as you all got time to do. I don’t know when you’re wheels up, but I just — I didn’t want to miss the opportunity just to tell you — tell you how grateful we are for your service to the country, grateful we are for the sacrifices you and your families are making, particularly over the next nine months.
And on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, on behalf of a grateful nation, go and make us proud on this deployment, and know that you go with our gratitude and the prayers of the American people. Okay?
So, God bless you. And do well, and go Army!
TROOPS: Hooah! (Applause.)