Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke today to U.S. Armed Forces serving at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The Secretary said:
"...I am delighted to see and to hear every single one of you and I know that some of your units have just come back from deployments all over the Pacific from our Medevac detachment unit in Basra, Iraq. Thank you for your service. From Afghanistan, thank you for your service. We are grateful to each and every one of you and we're also grateful to your families. Because I know that maybe one of you is actually in uniform, but the entire family serves. And so please express my appreciation to them as well.
"I'm here on my sixth trip as Secretary of State to the Asia Pacific region, because this is the center of much of the change and many of the challenges of the 21st century. I gave a speech, I guess it was yesterday now in Hawaii, outlining some of those changes and challenges and explaining what we are doing to meet them. We are engaging evermore actively in this region with our allies, our partners, with emerging powers, with institutions that are being built in order to keep the peace, advance prosperity and stability. This is an opportunity for me to come to Guam, the home of 170,000 very loyal American citizens who care deeply about our country and who are part of our extended defense.
"I will go from here to Vietnam, a country that we are developing stronger relationships with that were unimaginable even 10 years ago, let alone 40 years ago. And then for me it is on to China for a brief stop to discuss the upcoming trip to the United States of President Hu Jintao, then to Cambodia and Malaysia and then on to Papua New Guinea and then to New Zealand, Australia and my last stop will be American Samoa. In just a few weeks, President Obama will be visiting India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea as well. So you can see we're paying a lot of attention to what's going on in the Asia Pacific region, because the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. And one of our goals coming into office 20 months ago was to reassert the American presence in Asia. And everywhere I travel on your behalf, I hear from leaders and citizens alike that they are glad America is back."
The Secretary continued, "...With Veteran's Day approaching, I want you and your families to know that the American people remain grateful and proud for your service. The dedication and sacrifices of the American military are very obvious in this region. We've been there standing sentinel. We've been there defending and taking the fight to those who would undermine freedom, our way of life, and the opportunity for millions and millions of others to have a chance to live up to their own God-given potential. It's a great honor for me to have a chance to come here and personally express the appreciation and gratitude of all of those who may not know your names and may never come to Guam, but because you're here, they sleep more soundly at night.
"I look out at all of you and it makes me very proud to be the Secretary of State of our great country. In fact, everywhere I go and every place I visit being able to say I represent the United States of America never ever ceases to send a chill down my spine. My dad was a World War II Navy vet. And I know from my own growing up how important it is that you're on duty for me, for my family, for your families, and for all of us and for future generations. Thank you and God bless you."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.
Secretary Clinton is traveling to Hawaii, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia October 27-November 8. You can learn about the Secretary's trip here.