Vice President Mike Pence visited Fort Bragg soldiers Wednesday to thank them for their service to the country and tout efforts to support service members in Washington, D.C.
Pence landed at Pope Army Airfield about 12:15 p.m. accompanied by state Sen. Dan Bishop.
The vice president then left for Highland Country Club in Fayetteville for a luncheon to raise money for Bishop, a Republican running for North Carolina's 9th District congressional seat.
After landing, Pence greeted a few airmen, soldiers and their family members, pausing to take photos.
He returned to Bragg, where he spoke to an estimated 630 soldiers.
"Fort Bragg is full of patriots," Pence said, recognizing Bronze Medal recipient Sgt. 1st Class Brant Ireland and Bronze Star recipient Capt. Ryan Schloesser.
"You heard the call, 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us ... and he said fear not, send me... ," Pence said, adding that he is confident that the service members will "forge a future of security and prosperity and peace for ourselves and for generations to come."
He said that is why President Donald Trump understands that the defense of the United States depends on the men and women of the Armed Forces.
Pence touted pay raises for service members under the Trump administration and said Trump is negotiating this year's defense budget at $750 billion.
"Under this president's leadership, we will always give our soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and Coast Guardsmen the resources you need to accomplish your mission and come home safe," Pence told Wednesday's crowd.
Capt. Brady Lemons, a soldier with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, was on a bus of guests waiting for Pence to land at Pope Army Airfield. Lemons said it was his first time being present for a visit from a White House official.
"It's always good to get support from your chain of command, and see someone cares," Lemons said.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, whose congressional district includes Fort Bragg, said he was proud to welcome Pence's visit.
"The men and women who serve here are the tip of the spear, and the Trump administration gets it -- whether it's strengthening opportunities for military spouses, improving the quality of life for military families, ensuring our troops are ready or caring for our veterans -- this administration has shown unparalleled commitment and support for our military."
Hudson said he'll continue to work "hand-in-hand" with Pence and Trump on those priorities.
Following the Fayetteville luncheon and the appearance at Fort Bragg, Pence headed to Greenville to appear at a rally Wednesday night with Trump.
"We look forward to carrying a message that is not only a message of national security but rebuilding our military, historic investments in our national defense ... -- tax cuts, deregulation, unleashing American energy -- North Carolina is thriving, and America is thriving thanks to the leadership and people of this state endorsed in 2016," Pence said.
This article is written by Rachael Riley from The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.