By Karen Parrish, DoD News, Defense Media Activity
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, made an Easter Sunday holiday visit to troops in U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, South Korea, where their message was one of gratitude for service members.
Pence noted with pride that their son, Michael J. Pence, is a serving Marine Corps second lieutenant, but he also looked back to the previous generation of his family in evoking a tradition of service: his father went before him on the family’s travels to Korea.
Pence talks heroes, sacrifice
The vice president said that, as his party’s aircraft approached landing on the Korean peninsula, “I looked out at those rolling hills, and I thought about 2nd Lt. Edward J. Pence, who was with the 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army. Dad served here in combat. It was in this month — this very week — in 1953 that my dad was awarded a bronze star here in Korea for action in combat.”
Pence said that “like so many who have worn the uniform and come home, my dad didn’t think the heroes were the ones that came home.”
He said his father “spoke of the ones that didn’t come home. He spoke of friends lost, sacrifices made.”
Pence added that his father would today take comfort that “the sacrifices that were made here, and the commitment that endures here has resulted in a free and prosperous South Korea.”
He said President Donald J. Trump today expressed his appreciation for South Korea-based troops and their commander, Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who leads United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
“General, we are proud — grateful for your leadership,” Pence said. He added that the commander in chief sent his greetings.
“I spoke to the president early today,” he said. “And he asked me to be here, and he told me in no uncertain terms to make sure that I told all of you we’re proud of you, and we are grateful for your service to the United States of America on this frontier of freedom that is South Korea.
Facing provocation ‘without fear’
CNN and others reported that, according to U.S. and South Korean defense officials, an attempted missile launch by North Korea Sunday failed, a day after a large-scale military parade honoring the Kim dynasty’s founder, Kim Il Sung.
“This morning’s provocation from the north is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world,” Pence told the assembled troops.
“Your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear inspires our nation and inspires the world.”
Pence called on the assembled service members to join him in applauding their Families and vowed that, “under President Trump’s leadership, we’re going to rebuild our military. We’re going to restore the arsenal of democracy.”
The vice president concluded his remarks with, “So for the sake of all of you who wear the uniform today, for the sake of all who have gone before, thank you for your service and happy Easter.”