Pence thanks troops, pushes military funding at Nellis rally


Steve Marcus

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to airmen during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018.

Thu, Jan 11, 2018 (6 p.m.)

In the second of two Las Vegas stops on Thursday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence extended an emphatic thanks to troops on hand while pushing President Donald Trump’s agenda to increase military spending before a temporary budget agreement to keep the U.S. government operating expires on Jan. 19.

“It’s time to set our partisan differences aside,” Pence said. “We need to give our armed forces the resources they need to accomplish their mission and come home safely.”

Over 1,500 camouflage-uniformed and blue pilot suit-clad servicemen and women welcomed the vice president to the podium just after 4 p.m., applauding frequently during the 25-minute rally, which took place on a large stage positioned between F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning jets. Troops gave their largest applause of the brief speech after Pence said Nellis trains “the best combat aviators in the world.”

Pence called Trump “the best friend the armed forces ever had,” telling attendees the president’s budget would provide for the greatest financial bolster of the U.S. military since Ronald Reagan was in office.

“Thanks to this commander in chief, the days of budget cuts to the armed forces of the U.S. is about to end,” he said. “Let me assure you, he has your back.”

Pence, whose father and whose son served in the U.S. armed forces, was complimentary of Nellis Air Force Base’s role in national security, calling the 11,300-acre base that trains over 14,000 servicemen and women “essential to American security.”

Above all, the vice president emphasized his gratitude for the troops, saying he made Thursday’s trip to pay honor, gratitude and respect to those who sacrifice for the country.

“You are the backbone of this country,” he said to applause.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller also made opening remarks of thanks to the troops. The four also spoke earlier Thursday at AFWERX Vegas in the central valley.

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