Know Your Military

First Lady, Karen Pence Visit Service Members, Families at Fort Bragg

April 16, 2019 | BY Terri Moon Cronk

The wives of the president and vice president highlighted the Month of the Military Child while visiting Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Melania Trump and Karen Pence were joined by Army Secretary Mark T. Esper at the home of the airborne and special operations forces for a briefing on the selection and training of special operations service members and a tour of the installation. 

Melania Trump poses for a selfie with a soldier.
Soldier Selfie
First Lady Melania Trump poses with a soldier during a visit to Fort Bragg, N.C., April 15, 2019.
Photo By: Lewis Perkins, Army
VIRIN: 190405-A-ZZ999-003
Karen Pence poses for a photo.
Mrs. Pence
Second Lady Karen Pence poses for a selfie with soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 15, 2019
Photo By: Lewis Perkins, Army
VIRIN: 190405-A-ZZ999-005

They met with commanders of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, observed elite capability demonstrations and learned more about the uniqueness of the community.
 
In honor of the Month of the Military Child, which recognizes the sacrifices of children of the nation's service members, Trump and Pence attended a student assembly at Albritton Middle School, a Department of Defense Education Activity school at Fort Bragg.

"Your moms and dads keep us safe, but I like to say it's the spouses and the children who are the homefront heroes," Pence said.

Karen Pence take a photo with soldiers.
Second Lady
Second Lady Karen Pence takes a selfie with two Army noncommissioned officers at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 15, 2019
Photo By: Lewis Perkins, Army
VIRIN: 190405-A-ZZ999-006

Following the tour of Fort Bragg, the first lady addressed service members and their families and noted that each of her visits to a military installation is a reminder of the "cost of the freedoms that we enjoy here in the United States."

"Our country is unlike any other in the world," she said, "founded in a deep-rooted spirit of true democracy, our military has always defended our country against hatred and injustice, protecting our families and fellow citizens, as well as those suffering from oppression around the world. It is with great admiration and pride that I stand before you to thank you for your service."  

The first lady recognized some of the most elite units operating at Fort Bragg. "Together you provide our nation with the world's most capable military forces and stand ready to respond anywhere in the world at a moment's notice," she told the audience members. "On behalf of this country, the president and I stand with each man and woman in uniform serving to defend all of us."

First Lady Melania Trump poses for a picture with a group of soldiers.
Troop Visit
First Lady Melania Trump poses for a picture with soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 15, 2019, during a visit to the base with Second Lady Karen Pence.
Photo By: Lewis Perkins, Army
VIRIN: 190415-A-D0042-0154A

She added that her thoughts and prayers, and those of the president, are with all those serving overseas. 

"To all the spouses here, my heart and appreciation goes out to you," she said. "With readiness as the top priority at Fort Bragg, I'm sure there is nothing more difficult to bear than to watch a loved one leave the safety and comfort of home to fight in dark and dangerous places around the world. My husband and I extend our deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks for the sacrifices that your families make for the protection of our country."

During April, the first lady noted, the nation recognizes military children and their important role. "They are our future leaders," she said, "and I can think of no better place to inspire leadership than among the military community."

Video by Marine Staff Sgt. Jennifer Martinez