By DoD News
By Jim Garamone
The United States will stand with those who stand in the defense of freedom, President Donald J. Trump told service members at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Moday.
The president visited U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command personnel and received briefings from Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel and Army Gen. Raymond Thomas.
The two commands work hand-in-hand to protect America and its vital interests. Special Operations Command has a worldwide mission. U.S. Central Command is especially focused on the threats emanating from the Middle East and Central Asia.
Trump visited the base to express his and the nation’s gratitude to the men and women of the commands. He also wanted to recognize the military families and spouses who shoulder the burdens of war. “I want every military family in this country to know that our administration is at your service,” he said. “We stand with you 100 percent. We will protect those who protect us, and we will never, ever let you down.”
The president also thanked the representatives of the 52 nations in the coalition that work with personnel at Centcom. He said the nation is “very proudly standing with you.”
Protecting the United States and its vital interests was at the heart of Trump’s remarks at the base. He said he has no higher responsibility than the protection of the American people.
“Each and every one of you is central to that mission,” the president said. “The men and women serving in Centcom and Socom have poured out their hearts and souls for this country.”
The sacrifices that service members and their civilian support make are real, the president said. “You’ve shed your blood across continents and oceans,” he said. “You’ve engaged the enemy on distant battlefields, toiled in the burning heat and bitter cold and sacrificed everything so that we can remain safe and strong and free.”
He promised to not forget those sacrifices.
Promises Tools, Equipment
He also promised to provide the tools, equipment, resources, training and supplies needed to accomplish the missions given to the commands. “We are going to be making a really historic investment in the armed forces of the United States and show the entire world that America stands with those who stand in defense of freedom,” Trump said.
The United States will support its allies, but the president said he also wants partner nations “to pay their fair share.”
Trump added, “We strongly support NATO. We only ask that all the NATO members make their full and proper financial contributions to the NATO alliance, which many of them have not been doing.”
Centcom and Socom are central to the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, the president said.
“We are up against an enemy that celebrates death, and totally worships destruction,” Trump said. “[The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] is on a campaign of genocide, committing atrocities across the world. Radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland as they did on 9/11, as they did from Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino.”
The president’s message to those forces of death and destruction is simple: “America and its allies will defeat you,” he said. “We will not allow it to take root in our country.”