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Camp Atterbury National Guard Base
Edinburgh, Indiana

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much.  Thank you to the Acting Adjutant General — Brigadier General Timothy Winslow.  He is a great Hoosier, an aviator with more than 2,500 hours of flight time — a man who’s dedicated 33 years of service in the Indiana National Guard.  So let me encourage you to be at ease and give a big round of applause for your Acting Adjutant General.  Thank you, General.  (Applause.)  Thanks for (inaudible).

It is great to be back home again, especially to be at Camp Atterbury, with so many men and women, and citizen soldiers who have stepped forward to serve our state and our nation.  I can tell you, I serve as Vice President of the United States today, but I will always count it among the highest honors of my life when, as your Governor, I was the Commander-in-Chief of the Indiana National Guard.  America is proud of the Indiana National Guard.  Give yourselves a round of applause.  You really set the pace.  (Applause.)  You really do.

We’ve got the Ironman unit here.  We’ve got the Bulldog unit.  And I know you all are getting ready to go downrange.  And I just had to come by.  I had to come by after a brief stop down in my hometown of Columbus just to say thank you.  Thank you for your service.

I want you also to say thank you to your families.  How about a round of applause for the spouses, and the parents, and the family members that support you as you serve our nation?  (Applause.)

And before we get done clapping, let me give you one more chance — I’m going to be with him a little bit later today when I arrive back at the White House.  But I know he would want me to extend his greetings and his gratitude to each and every one of you.  So allow me to extend the great respect and the appreciation of your Commander-in-Chief — the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

I hope all my fellow Hoosiers here are as proud as I am of the support that this President and this administration have provided to our men and women in uniform.  I’m proud to report to you that, under this administration — and, frankly, the strong bipartisan support in Congress — we’ve actually seen the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan, including the largest pay raise for men and women in uniform in more than 10 years.  We’re standing by each and every one of you as never before.

And my commitment to each one of you, as your Vice President and on behalf of our President, is we’re going to continue to make sure that you have the resources, the support, the equipment, and the training to accomplish your mission and defend this nation.  That’s our promise to each and every one of you.  (Applause.)

And I don’t have to tell all of you, as you prepare for a deployment downrange in the next several months, that you know — literally since that — since that — since the founding of our country, citizen soldiers have played a vital role.  The National Guard has been a part of our national defense.  But since that day 18 years ago that we remembered earlier this month, the National Guard and the Indiana National Guard have been at the tip of the spear, and many of you have already been downrange several different times, playing a vital role in the global war on terror.

And it’s remarkable to think that the role that each one of you played in those deployments has made an incredible difference.  I’m told actually that, since September 11th, more than 15,000 Indiana Army National Guard and 3,500 Indiana Air Guard have supported the global war on terror through deployments overseas.

And as we mark that 18th anniversary, let me just say: On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to the Indiana National Guard, the Indiana Air Guard for what you’ve done to protect this nation for all those 18 years.  Give yourselves another round of applause.  You’ve made an incredible difference.  (Applause.)

You’ve also played a critical role.  I have to tell you, since going back to Washington, D.C., I’ve been awfully proud to hear reports of the way the Indiana National Guard has stepped forward following hurricanes and major weather events and disasters.  It just seems like every single time that these events take place in our communities, somebody pulls me aside in Washington, D.C., and says, “You know, the Indiana National Guard was one of the first units down there making a difference.”  And I couldn’t be more proud of that.

Now, this is a great group.  There are, I’m told, 300 engineers here today; about 85 military police preparing to deploy into Afghanistan; the engineers to Kuwait.  But each one of you has your own personal story.  And I was particularly moved, as the son of a combat veteran and the father of a United States Marine, to know that there is a father-son unit getting ready to deploy.  And I don’t know — I got to find out from somebody if that’s ever happened before in the history of the Indiana National Guard.  But it just underscores the commitment of families in this state to our national defense.

So would you join me in congratulating and thanking First Sergeant Brian Schultheis and Lieutenant Brett Schultheis?  Where are you guys?  Put your hands in the air.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  I know how proud you are, and I know how nervous you are going downrange with your dad.  I appreciate both of you, and I appreciate your family.  And it really is amazing to see you all here today.

As I mentioned, it was probably one of the greatest honors of my life when I was Commander-in-Chief of the Indiana National Guard as your governor.  Thirteen thousand men and women.  It’s amazing to think Indiana is not the seventh-largest state in America, but we boast the seventh-largest National Guard in this country.  And that says an awful lot about families in this state and the commitment to providing for the common defense.

And so I just wanted to come by and really say two things.  First and foremost, thank you for your service.  Thank you for stepping up for Indiana and for America.

And secondly, on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, I just encourage you: Take the opportunity to be ready, which is the motto of Camp Atterbury and has been for decades.  Use this time of training to sharpen yourselves and be prepared to deploy and bring real excellence and professionalism to this effort.  Be vigilant.  Respect the unified chain of command.  Trust your superiors.  Trust your orders.  Mind your people and mind your mission.  And know that the American people are counting on you, because we know we can.

You know, I stand before you today, and the last thing I would say to each one of you is, from the bottom of my heart — is just: Thank you.  Thank you for stepping forward in this all-volunteer military.  Thank you for being the citizen soldiers that the National Guard are here in Indiana and all across America.

Know that you go with the confidence of you Commander-in-Chief.  Know that you go with the gratitude of the people of Indiana and this nation.  But also know that you go with the prayers of people all across this state.  And be assured of that as you prepare for deployment, as you go downrange, that you will be carried by the prayers of the people of Indiana and the people of this country.

We will pray every day that no harm would befall you, no danger would come near you, and that you would do your job protecting this nation and return home safe to your families.  That, we will pray.

So thank you very much.  God bless the Indiana National Guard.  God bless the Hoosier State.  And God bless America.  It’s great to be home. (Applause.)