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Biden, wife visit troops in Southwest Asia

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, met with more than 1,000 service members assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and their coalition partners from five nations March 7 at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

Brig. Gen. Daniel Orcutt, the 380th AEW commander, and 1st Lt. Karen, the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer in charge of the Sentry Aircraft Maintenance Unit, greeted Biden and the second lady on stage.

Jill Biden expressed her appreciation for the sacrifices made by each service member in attendance and their families back home during her opening remarks.

“We are here for one simple reason and that’s to say thank you to every single service member and their family,” she said. “On a daily basis each of you show the world what words like service, strength and sacrifice really mean.”

Karen, a Wilmington, Delaware native, met Biden before he accepted the position of vice president, and introduced him following Jill Biden’s remarks. Biden nominated Karen to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy almost a decade ago when he was senator for Delaware.

“I want to thank Brig. Gen. Orcutt for welcoming me and my family here today,” he said. “I know your ops tempo out here is pretty high and you got better things to do than come see Jill and me, but we never pass up an opportunity wherever we are around the world to try and see our warriors.”

During his remarks, he reminded the audience, comprised of members from all branches of the U.S. armed services, and coalition partners, how valuable they were to in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“We are taking the fight to (ISIL) now, and pursuing all those who would do harm to America,” Biden said. “You are the instrument in a strategy to reclaim territory that they have taken and destroy their financial assets. We have to squeeze the heart of (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria so they can’t continue to pump their poison into the region and the rest of the world.”

Before closing, Biden stressed again his opinion of the men and women serving their country before taking time to shake hands and personally greet members of the audience.

“You’re the finest generation of warriors the world has ever, ever known,” he said. “Thank you very, very, very much.”

(Editor’s note: Last names were not included for some individuals due to safety and security reasons.)