President Barack Obama waves as he arrives for a troop rally after arriving at Bagram Air Field for an unannounced visit, north of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Eyder Peralta: On Memorial Day Eve, President Obama Visits Troops In Afghanistan
Under the cover of darkness and on the eve of Memorial Day, President Obama landed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for a surprise visit with U.S. troops. After a concert from country music star Brad Paisley, Obama spoke before a rally of 32,000 Americans currently serving in Afghanistan. Obama made a bit of news, saying he was hopeful that a new president in Afghanistan would lead to a signed security agreement that would leave a small number of American troops in the country after 2014. That agreement has been elusive under the government of Hamid Karzai. Obama, however, mostly focused on thanking the troops and reminding them about the beginning of America’s longest-running war.
“To all of you, I’m here on a single mission and that is to thank you for your extraordinary service,” Obama said to resounding applause. Obama got a few laughs with references to sports and his singing, but toward the middle of the address he became serious. He said the U.S. is at a pivotal moment in its mission in Afghanistan. At the moment, U.S. forces are playing a support role to Afghan security forces. By the end of the year, the U.S. combat mission will come to an end. “For many of you, this will be your last tour in Afghanistan,” Obama said, again receiving a raucous applause.
A U.S. serviceman takes a photo of U.S. President Barack Obama as he speaks to troops deployed in Afghanistan
President Barack Obama is briefed by Marine General Joseph Dunford, commander of the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham
Reuters: Obama, In Afghanistan Says He Will Make Troop Announcement Soon
President Barack Obama, on a visit to Afghanistan, said on Sunday his administration would likely announce soon how many troops the United States will keep in the country, as it winds down its presence after nearly 13 years of war. Speaking at a briefing by military commanders at Bagram Air Base, Obama said one of the reasons for his visit was to discuss the U.S. footprint for the rest of this year – when the bulk of troops are scheduled to be withdrawn – and afterward. “We’ll probably be announcing some decisions fairly shortly,” said Obama, who flew into Bagram for a brief, surprise visit. At Bagram, Obama was briefed by Army General Joseph Dunford, who heads U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham.
Obama left Washington under cover of darkness on Saturday night and flew for more than 13 hours to arrive at Bagram on Sunday night local time. He brought with him country music star Brad Paisley to provide entertainment for the troops. Obama inherited two wars from his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, when he took office for his first term in 2009. He ended U.S. involvement in Iraq, a war he opposed, and his visit to Bagram was seen as a final trip to Afghanistan to salute American forces who are to leave soon. In recent months he has recognized the valor of troops who faced combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan and earlier this month he was on hand for the formal dedication of the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York at the site where the World Trade Center towers were brought down by hijacked-plane attackers in 2001.
President Obama walks alongside US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham after disembarking from Air Force One upon arrival at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014, on a surprise trip to visit US troops
Just landed : Obama makes surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit the troops.
President Obama, alongside 14-year-old Joey Hudy of Phoenix, Arizona, at the White House Science Fair, February 7, 2012
The President has no public events scheduled (Update: so much for that!)
The President will host a breakfast (9:15 AM) in the State Dining Room in honor of Memorial Day. The Vice President and Dr. Biden will also attend.
Later in the morning, the President and First Lady will travel to Arlington National Cemetery where the President will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (11:0) and deliver remarks (11:20); the Vice President and Dr. Biden also attend
The President will host the 2014 White House Science Fair and celebrate the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President will also announce new steps as part of his Educate to Innovate campaign, an all-hands-on-deck effort to get more girls and boys inspired to excel and to provide the support they need to succeed in these vital subjects
The President travels to West Point, New York to deliver the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point
The President will host a summit at the White House on youth sports safety and concussions, where he will be joined by stakeholders, including young athletes, parents, coaches, experts, professional athletes, and military service members. At the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit, the President will announce new commitments by both the public and private sectors to raise awareness about how to identify, treat and prevent concussions, and conduct additional research in the field of sports-related concussions that will help us better address these problems
The President will attend a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA Headquarters