Dr. Biden Pledges Support for Guard Families
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau
NEW CASTLE, Del., Mar. 7, 2011 Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, promised National Guard members and their families here that she will support them during every deployment.
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, speaks at the Delaware Air National Guard’s 166th Airlift Wing, March 4, 2011. The 166th is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan and Southeast Asia to provide logistical and aeromedical evacuation support to soldiers and Marines in support of operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“As family members, we honor and support our [Guard members], but we also know that we will miss them each and every day they’re away from us,” she said during a March 4 call-to-duty ceremony at the Delaware Air National Guard’s 166th Airlift Wing.
Biden announced Feb. 28 that she and First Lady Michelle Obama will launch a campaign this month that’s designed to rally citizens, businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide support for servicemembers and their families.
"We're going to reach out to all Americans," she said. "Michelle and I are going to go on a tour around the country to create this mass-media awareness, so that the 99 percent of Americans that are not serving can now serve the 1 percent who are."
Biden said this initiative was created to recognize the sacrifices families make when they have a deployed Guard member and to identify and fix some of the shortfalls that happen back home when a Guard member is gone.
“Families, you –- like your airmen and soldiers -– are making your own personal sacrifice for this country,” she said. “I want you to know that this country appreciates your courage and your strength.”
Noting her experience as a military mom when her son Beau Biden, who is a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, returned home from a yearlong deployment to Iraq, Biden said she worked during that time with the grassroots organization Delaware Boots on the Ground. It makes a difference, she added, made when someone reaches out to support Guard families.
“Three years ago, I sat where you families are sitting today as my son Beau deployed to Iraq,” she said. “I have some sense of what some of the parents and loved ones are feeling. I remember the distinct mixed feeling of both pride and concern.
“Where a military family in Delaware has a need, we try to meet it,” she continued, describing the Delaware Boots on the Ground mission as, “whether it’s physical labor or repairs around the house, a fun night out for the kids, or other simple ways individuals, businesses and groups can support a family through a deployment.”
To offer solace during the coming months, Biden shared a prayer that was slipped into her hand by Jane Vavala, wife of Delaware's adjutant general, Army Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, during Beau Biden's deployment ceremony.
“Dear God, I pray to give each [Guard member] the courage and strength to do the duty that is required of them,” she said. “May they always remember our appreciation for the sacrifice they are making for us. We are thankful for the men and women who willing to risk their lives to protect our freedom. I ask you to go with each one of them and protect them wherever they go, Amen.”