The Big Three: Trump, Mattis, Pence Leave DC for Separate Surprise Visits
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President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis each made trips to visit with U.S. troops, both here and abroad, to pay them holiday greetings ahead of Christmas Day.
Trump’s visit occurred Thursday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where he greeted wounded veterans and reminded them that they happen to be “some of the bravest people anywhere in the world,” as reported by Fox News.
While at the facility, the president awarded wounded veteran 1st Lt. Victor Prato of the 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion a Purple Heart. Prato suffered multiple injuries from an IED explosion while deployed last month in Afghanistan.
Watch the ceremony below:
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Pence’s visit involved a trip Thursday to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
The vice president used the opportunity to “thank the troops for serving their country and being away from their families at Christmas, calling them heroes and the ‘world’s greatest force for good,’” according to The Washington Post.
Pence also shared a message straight from the lips of President Trump: “Tell them I love them.”
Mattis’ surprise visits began Thursday and included stops at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Ft. Bragg, N.C.; and the Mayport naval base in Jacksonville, Fla., as noted by The Wall Street Journal.
The trip to Gitmo was especially noteworthy, as it marked the first time in 16 years that a Pentagon chief had traveled to the facility. Just to be clear, Mattis didn’t travel to Gitmo to visit with the terrorists and other detainees but rather the troops stationed at the facility.
According to the Associated Press, Mattis delivered a pep talk, reminding our troops to remain at the top of their game and defending them from accusations that they mistreat prisoners.
“I am confident that we’re doing the right thing here,” he said.
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The defense secretary’s series of visits ended Friday at Ft. Bragg, where he emphasized that the United States’ diplomatic efforts with the rogue regime of North Korea will only succeed if the troops do their part and remain “ready to go.”
“My fine young soldiers, the only way our diplomats can speak with authority and be believed is if you’re ready to go,” he said.
These visits to the troops by our nation’s top leaders might seem like no big deal to those on the outside looking in, but believe me when I say every little bit of love and support they receive means the world to them. God bless ’em, and God bless our nation’s leaders as well.
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