Yokota Air Base
11:08 A.M. HST
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I like this better. (Applause.) You can have my jacket. Right? Thank you. Thank you, honey. Thank you.
Oh, boy, that’s something. This is a great group of people. Thank you very much, and General Martinez, everybody, for your devoted leadership of our brave troops right here in Japan, and especially thank you — especially, especially — to all of the incredible servicemembers.
We’re really here today, we’re going to have a good time, and we’re going to celebrate your achievements. So I’ll issue one of your favorite commands. Are you ready? At ease! At ease! (Applause.) Just sit back. Now have a good time. (Laughter.) Just have a good time.
Melania and I also want to extend a special thanks to Ambassador Bill Hagerty, who’s doing an outstanding job. He’s an outstanding person. I know him very well. Believe me, you got one of the great ones. He’s leading our American embassy in Tokyo.
I’m honored to be here today in this beautiful country, home of the extraordinary people of Japan. Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States. And today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations.
Americans have deep respect and admiration for the people of Japan — their amazing culture, their strong spirit, and their very proud history.
So on behalf of the United States of America, I send the warmest wishes of the American people to the citizens of this remarkable country. (Applause.)
now I know how you guys feel. This is pretty good. (Laughter.)
travels across Asia will take us to many historic places to see many wonderful sights, and to speak before many audiences. But there is no single place I’d rather begin my trip than right here, with all of you — the incredible men and women of the United States military — and your amazing partners, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Thank you for being here. Thank you. (Applause.)
To everyone here today who serves your country in uniform: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We salute you — (laughter) — what’s your rank? (Laughter.) We’re going to raise it. (Applause.) We salute you, we honor you, and we stand proudly with the men and women who defend us and our way of life. Nations are built from the courage, love, and sacrifice of patriots just like you.
Each of you inherits the proud legacy of generations of warriors that have walked these very grounds for more than seven decades.
From Yokota’s runways, American pilots took to the air and drove back the invaders during the Korean War. Tremendous courage. Tremendous bravery. From here, they enforced a precious peace during a long and bitter Cold War. And in the aftermath of the devastating 2011 tsunami, this base served as the launching point for Operation Tomodachi — the largest humanitarian relief effort in American history, which saved the lives of thousands and thousands of great Japanese citizens.
Like those who came before you, you always rise to the occasion, and you never, ever let your country down.
General Martinez, General Chiarotti, General Pasquarette, Rear Admiral Fenton, Brigadier General Winkler, Colonel Moss, and Chief Master Sergeant Greene: You lead the forces under your command with exceptional skill and devotion, and America is tremendously grateful to you. (Applause.)
We’re also fortunate to stand alongside such strong and capable allies. General Maehera, General Asai, General Imaki, and General Ando: Thank you for your leadership and service. Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
On behalf of the American people, I want each and every one of you, both American and Japanese, to know that your service and commitment helps keep us all safe, strong, and free.
I also want to express our gratitude to the family members and loved ones who sacrifice so much to make your service possible. They are absolutely incredible people, and it’s not easy. America is profoundly grateful for all you do.
And we are, back home, starting to do — I will tell you, and you’re reading and you’re seeing — really, really well. The stock market is at an all-time high. (Applause.) Unemployment, back in the United States, is at a 17-year low. (Applause.) Almost 2 million jobs have been added since a very, very special day; it’s called Election Day, November 8th. Two million jobs. (Applause.) It’s a lot of jobs.
And we’ve dealt ISIS one brutal defeat after another. And it’s about time. (Applause.)
It’s truly inspiring to see American airmen and Marines and — (applause) — you know, I have a great Marine here: General Kelly, four-star. Did anyone ever hear of General Kelly? Where’s General Kelly? (Applause.) He is something. Now he’s Chief of Staff. But he does like those four stars, I want to tell you that. (Laughter.)
But American airmen and the Marines and Japanese Self-Defense Forces that are standing here with us today, side-by-side, confident, committed, and more capable than ever. You instill confidence in the hearts of our allies, and you strike fear in the hearts of our enemies. It’s the way it should be, isn’t it? (Applause.)
Our alliance is a testament to the transformative power of freedom. Today, nations that once waged war now stand together as friends and partners in pursuit of a much better world. And we’re getting there. We’re getting there faster than you think.
With your presence here today, shoulder-to-shoulder, you put hope into every soul that yearns for peace. All of you have made Yokota one of the most capable operational bases in Japan and, actually, anywhere in the world. For over a decade, this incredible place has been home not only to American servicemembers, but also to the Air Defense Command of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. Today, this base serves as a critical center for coordination for American and Japanese commanders to plan their missions.
For almost 60 years, the military alliance we see on this base has endured — a cornerstone of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for our nations, this region, and indeed the entire world. Today, we pay tribute to that legacy — a legacy you protect and grow each and every day.
We dominate the sky, we dominate the sea, we dominate the land and space — (applause) — not merely because we have the best equipment, which we do — and, by the way, a lot of it’s coming in; you saw that budget. That’s a lot different than in the past. A lot of beautiful, brand new equipment is coming in. And nobody makes it like they make it in the United States. Nobody. (Applause.) Got a lot of stuff coming. Use it well.
But because we have — more important than equipment, we have the best people. Each of you embodies the warrior creed. Your devotion, prowess, and expertise make you the most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world.
Together with our allies, America’s warriors are prepared to defend our nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities. No one — no dictator, no regime, and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve. Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it? (Applause.) It was not pleasant.
We will never yield, never waver, and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom, and our great American flag. (Applause.) That flag stands for the values of our Republic, the history of our people, the sacrifice of our heroes, and our loyalty to the nation we love.
As long as I am President, the servicemen and women who defend our nation will have the equipment, the resources, and the funding they need to secure our homeland, to respond to our enemies quickly and decisively, and, when necessary, to fight, to overpower, and to always, always, always win. Right? (Applause.) This is the heritage of the American Armed Forces — the greatest force for peace and justice the world has ever known.
Free nations must be strong nations, and we welcome it when our allies — from Europe to Asia — renew their commitment to peace through strength. We seek peace and stability for the nations of the world, including those right here in this region. And it’s a great region.
As Americans celebrate Veterans Day this month, we honor all who have sacrificed to make peace and stability possible. We pay tribute to every proud American who has worn the uniform and served our country.
Today, many nations of the Indo-Pacific are thriving because of the sacrifices made by American servicemembers and our allies, and because of the sacrifices all of you continue to make each and every day.
Here in Japan, we have seen the amazing things that are possible when a people are free and independent. Over the course of a single lifetime, the Japanese people have built one of the most successful societies and nations in the world.
Over the next 10 days, we travel to South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. We will seek new opportunities for cooperation and commerce, and we will partner with friends and allies to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific Region. We will seek free, fair, and reciprocal trade.
But this future is only within our grasp because of you. You make it possible for peace-loving nations to thrive and for peace-loving people to prosper.
You are the reason the great American flag will proudly stand behind me wherever I go. And every time I look at that flag, I will think of brave men and women like you, and I will think of all the American patriots, down through the generations, who poured out their blood, sweat, tears, hopes, and dreams to defend our country.
When you follow your citizens and people across the Indo-Pacific region — see the flags of free and sovereign states, like the United States and Japan, displayed during our diplomatic meetings over the next 10 days, be proud of your nation, be proud of your service, and be proud of the security you provide that makes it all possible.
Like your predecessors, you — our brave warriors — are the last bulwark against threats to the dreams of people in America and Japan, and all across the world.
You are the greatest hope for people who desire to live in freedom and harmony, and you are the greatest threat to tyrants and dictators who seek to prey on the innocent.
History has proven over and over that the road of the tyrant is a steady march toward poverty, suffering, and servitude. But the path of strong nations and free people, certain of their values and confident in their futures, is a proven path toward prosperity and peace. We cherish our cultures, we embrace our values, and we always fight for what we believe in.
Because of you, the people of America, the people of Japan, and the freedom-loving people everywhere are able to fulfill their destinies and follow their dreams. And we are grateful for your families, for their sacrifice and support that allows our brave men and women to serve. We also appreciate the sacrifice of dedicated civilians who keep this base going and take care of our military and their precious loved ones.
We are eternally grateful for your service and for your sacrifice. And we are forever in your debt.
I am so proud to be here with you today. We face many challenges and many opportunities, and we will face all of them together as a team. And if we do, I am certain that the future for America, for Japan, and for our cherished allies has never, ever looked brighter. Because of patriots like you, freedom will prevail.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the Armed Forces. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you. Thank you all. (Applause.) Thank you.
END 11:26 A.M. HST