Pence tells soldiers, ‘Fort Bragg is full of patriots’
By RACHAEL RILEY | The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer | Published: July 17, 2019
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — Vice President Mike Pence visited Fort Bragg soldiers Wednesday to thank them for their service to the country and to tout efforts in Washington, D.C., to support servicemembers.
Pence landed at Pope Army Airfield about 12:15 p.m. Wednesday accompanied by state Sen. Dan Bishop. He greeted a few airmen, soldiers and their family members, pausing to take photos.
The vice president then left for Highland Country Club in Fayetteville for a luncheon to raise money for Bishop, a Republican running for the North Carolina’s 9th district.
Pence returned to Fort Bragg, where he spoke to an estimated 630 soldiers.
“Fort Bragg is full of patriots,” Pence said.
The vice president also introduced retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, who served as the 82nd Airborne Division commander from 1997 to 1998.
Pence also recognized soldiers who are deployed and those who have been killed in action.
“You heard the call, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us … and he said, “Fear not, send me …,” ’ ” Pence said, adding that he is confident that the servicemembers will “forge a future of security and prosperity and peace for ourselves and for donations to come.”
He said that is why President Donald Trump understands that the defense of the U.S. depends on the men and women of the armed forces.
Pence said Trump has signed the largest investment of the U.S.’s national defense, which included the “largest pay raise” for servicemembers since President Ronald Reagan was in office.
Pence said Trump is negotiating this year’s defense budget, and proposed “the largest defense budget in history,” a few weeks ago.
“We will always give our (servicemembers) the resources you need to accomplish your mission and come home safe,” Pence told Wednesday’s crowd.
Capt. Brady Lemons, a soldier with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, was on a bus of guests waiting for Pence to land Wednesday at Pope Army Airfield. Lemons said it was his first time being present for a visit from a White House official.
“It’s always good to get support from your chain of command, and see someone cares,” Lemons said.
Rep. Richard Hudson, whose congressional district includes Fort Bragg, said he was proud to welcome Pence’s visit.
“The men and women who serve here are the tip of the spear, and the Trump administration gets it — whether it’s strengthening opportunities for military spouses, improving the quality of life for military families, ensuring our troops are ready or caring for our veterans — this administration has shown unparalleled commitment and support for our military.”
Hudson said he’ll continue to work “hand-in-hand” with Pence and Trump on those priorities.
Following the Fayetteville luncheon and the appearance at Fort Bragg, Pence headed toward Greenville to appear at a rally Wednesday night with Trump.