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President Praises U.S. Military, Families in S. Korea

July 1, 2019 | BY David Vergun
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The hearts of 330 million Americans beat with gratitude for the selfless service of U.S. forces serving in South Korea, President Donald J. Trump said during a visit to Osan Air Base, South Korea. 

Trump spoke to service members assembled in an Osan hangar yesterday as part of his visit to the region to attend the G-20 financial summit.

President speaks to crowd
Trump Speech
President Donald J. Trump addresses service members and their families stationed in South Korea at Osan Air Base, South Korea, June 30, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa
VIRIN: 190630-F-IH072-1356

A number of family members were also in attendance, and Trump recognized them as well. "Those families and those spouses, they keep you going. … America is forever grateful for your service and for your devotion," he said.

The president specifically recognized Jamie Waterbury, wife of Air Force Master Sgt. Cole Waterbury. She recently earned the Presidential Lifetime Achievement award for her 4,000 hours of volunteer work on behalf of the military community, he noted. "That's incredible. Jamie, you embody the greatness of America's military families and we want to thank you," he said.

Trump also recognized Master Sgt. Hunter Lindblad of the 7th Air Force, who was born in the South Korean capital of Seoul and was adopted by an American family when he was 5 months old.

Man shakes hands
Trump Welcome
State Department and Defense Department officials welcome President Donald J. Trump to Osan Air Base, South Korea, June 29, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. James L. Miller
VIRIN: 190629-F-IP058-026

Twenty-five years later, in 2010, Hunter returned to South Korea for the first time, as an "intrepid airman" of the U.S. Air Force, Trump said. He is now completing his third tour of duty in South Korea, doing "an incredible job [as a] planner, helping our forces to achieve unrivaled skill, precision and speed."

"Hunter, your story exemplifies the enduring bonds between the American and South Korean people," he added.

The president also recognized Capt. Jin Lee, who grew up near Pohang, South Korea. At age 13, he immigrated to the United States, became an American citizen, and after college, joined the Air Force.

When he was a child in Korea, Trump said, Jin heard stories about the "righteous might" of American warriors. He liked those stories, the president said, and so he joined. "You make us all proud," he told Lee.

President is greeted by troops
Trump and Troops
President Donald J. Trump arrives at Osan Air Base, South Korea, June 30, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. James L. Miller
VIRIN: 190630-F-IH072-1167
President signs autographs
Trump's Autograph
President Donald J. Trump signs a hat for a service member after speaking to the troops at Osan Air Base, South Korea, June 30, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa
VIRIN: 190630-F-IH072-1686

The president also recognized soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea U.S. Combined Division, for their efforts at fighting wildfires northeast of Seoul in April. "Your valiant actions helped save thousands of homes and countless numbers of lives," he said.

Addressing all who serve, Trump recognized their selflessness and fortitude: "Our nation will never forget the sacrifices of every American service member here today and those stationed throughout the world," he said. "No force on Earth can match the courage, the spirit, virtue, the grit of the American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine."