President Donald J. Trump addresses U.S. military service members at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, May 28, 2019.
[Announcer] Lady of the United States, Mrs. Melania Trump. (“Anchors Aweigh) (crowd cheers)
It is wonderful to be with you today. This has been a very enjoyable and productive visit with the Japanese people, and we are thankful for the incredible hospitality that we have received. Back in November, I visited the USS George H.W. Bush. One of our nation’s great aircraft carriers at work in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a privilege, to once again, join with you. Our incredible sailors and marines on the USS Wasp at work here in the Pacific Ocean. Thank you for your service and sacrifice and all that you do on behalf of our country. May God bless you and your families. I’d now like introduce, my husband, your Commander in Chief, the 45th President of the United States of America, Mr. President (chuckles) (crowd cheers) (“Hail to the Chief”)
[Crowd] USA, USA, USA!
What a group, what a group. This is a tough bunch of people, right? (crowd cheers) That’s good, that’s very good. And I wanna thank you, Melania, you’ve been really the talk of Japan. They’re not covering me. I’m a little bit upset with her right now. (crowd laughs) Now they love you in Japan, honey, and we appreciate it very much, really. Works very hard, they love our First Lady and they love our First Lady back home. I want to just tell everyone, before we begin, At ease! At ease, just relax. We have plenty of time, plenty of time. We’re gonna have a little fun. And I’m thrilled to be aboard the USS Wasp with the brave sailors and marines, the 7th Fleet, special, special people, thank you very much, great job, thank you. (crowd cheers) And I have to wish you all a very happy Memorial Day, right? Memorial Day, very special back home. And I always like to be back in the U.S. as you do for that day but we did a lot of great things for the last three days in Japan, so we’re working together, you’re working, I’m working, we’re all working together. As president, I have no higher honor than serving as your Commander in Chief, and the extraordinary men and women of the American Armed Forces. This has been a truly amazing and unforgettable visit to Japan. Melania and I are profoundly grateful to their Majesties, the new Emperor and Empress. Had the great honor of being their first state guests, that was a big honor for our country. We’re also deeply thankful to our cherished friends and treasured partners, Prime Minister and Mrs. Abe. Very, very great people. Our thanks as well to Ambassador Hagerty and his wife Chrissy. Thank you very much, thank you ambassador. Thank you, Chrissy, thank you very much. Great job you’re doing. Today we’re proud to be joined by the many outstanding military leaders. We have a lot. These are very incredible ones. I especially want to thank commanding officer of USS Wasp, Captain Christopher Herr. (crowd cheers) They like you, Christopher. They like you a lot. That’s very good, Christopher. (crowd laughs) And the Command Master Chief, Kevin Guy. (crowd cheers) Popular people, that’s great, wow, great leaders. My thanks as well to Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider, Commander of the U.S. Forces, Japan. Thank you, Kevin, thank you. (crowd cheers) Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet. (crowd cheers) And you know they’re all such good looking people, and you have all this media over here, they’re gonna end up in Hollywood. They’re gonna leave us. Some of them will be picked for Hollywood, right? And they won’t do it. They like this better, and I agree. Rear Admiral, Gregory Fenton, Commander of the United States Naval Force, Japan, thank you, thank you Gregory, thank you, great. (crowd cheers) Rear Admiral James Pitts, Commander of the Submarine Group 7. (crowd cheers) And you know we’re doing a lot of big submarines right now, we’re building a lot of them. I’ll tell you the best in the world, not even a contest, right? It’s really something. I just saw plans for one. About, they’re no longer the little submarines that we think about, these are incredible machines, right? Thank you very much. Brigadier General Todd Dozier, Deputy Commander of the 5th Air Force, Todd? Thank you, Todd. (crowd cheers) Real Admiral Fred Kacher, Commander of Task Force 76, thank you very much, thank you very much, (crowd cheers) Great, great leaders. Captain Jim McGovern, Commander of the Amphibious Squadron 11, and Captain Jeffrey Kim, Commander of Fleet Activities, right here, thank you very much. (crowd cheers) Thank you, great. Together these officers are leading the most fearsome group of American warriors this side of the Pacific. We have more than 1,000 sailors and marines from the 7th Fleet here today including hundreds who serve on this impressive assault ship, USS Wasp. (crowd cheers) Also joining us are sailors from the following ships, USS Shiloh. (crowd cheers) USS Chancellorsville (crowd cheers) USS Mustin (crowd cheers) USS Barry (crowd cheers) You love those ships, don’t you, huh? USS McCampbell (crowd cheers) USS Benford (crowd cheers) Thank you fellas, that’s great, great pride. Finally I want to recognize our many shore based commands here today. Including large contingents from Navy Region Japan, thank you very much, (crowd cheers) We like it, they like it. The Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team. (crowd cheers) The Naval Intelligence Operations Center. (crowd cheers) Fleet Logistics Center, Yokosuka. (crowd cheers) The Ship Repair Facility, yeah I’ll bet you guys do a good job. Do they do a good job with the ships, huh, repairing them, huh? (crowd cheers) So then let me ask you a question. Catapult, right? The catapult system, do you like electric or steam?
Steam, who said electric, there’s this one guy back there. (crowd laughs) Okay, I really need this information because you know, we’re building carriers, we’re building one, they’re using an electric catapult and an electric elevator. Number one, I can’t imagine in the case of battle it must be very delicate, okay? And you know, steam’s only worked for about 65 years perfectly. And I won’t tell you this because it’s before my time by a little bit. But they have a $900 million cost overrun on this crazy electric catapult. I said, what was wrong with steam? I would like to know. All of the folks that know exactly what I’m talking about, the catapult system. Steam or electric, ready, steam? (crowd cheers) Electric? (single cheer) (crowd laughs)
[Spectator] We’re going steam.
He works for the enemy. (crowd laughs) Ah, he’s all right, well, you might be in danger, I better be careful. (crowd laughs) No, we want to go with steam. You know, they’re always coming up with new ideas. They’re making planes so complex you can’t fly ’em. You know that, no, I admit they want to show you next, next, next. And we all want innovation, but it’s too much. But there’s never been anything like the steam catapults. And I went to the Gerald Ford, which is under construction now for a long time, they’re having a problem with their electric catapult and I was talking to the catapult people and they said, steam. In the meantime, we’re spending all that money on electric and nobody knows what it’s going to be like in bad conditions, you understand. So I think I’m gonna put an order, when we build a new aircraft carrier, we’re gonna use steam. I’m gonna just put out an order, we’re gonna use steam. We don’t need that extra speed. You know they were saying one of the folks said, no the electric works faster. But sir, we can only get the plane there every couple of minutes. So really, what they did was wrong. And we make mistakes but generally speaking we get it right. But when we make ’em we have to correct ’em. So we’re gonna put out an order, we want to use steam. The military doctors and nurses from the U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, and many more. So many people. So many great, great people. Every marine and sailor standing on USS Wasp is the face of American strength and power in the Pacific. The 7th Fleet is America’s largest forward deployed naval fleet. Together you are 70 ships and submarines strong with 140 aircraft and 40,000 of America’s finest sailors and marines, did you know that about yourselves? Not bad, it’s very impressive. With us today is Marine Staff Sergeant Daniel Patterson, where’s Daniel, where’s Daniel? Get over here, Daniel. (crowd cheers) Tough looking guy. (crowd laughs) Every single generation of Staff Sergeant Patterson’s family has served in the United States military, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. But Staff Sergeant Patterson was the first to choose the marines.
After completing two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Patterson requested another overseas tour. This time, wanted to go to Japan. He knows that America needs and what they need is daring and mighty warriors in the Pacific and he’s a daring and mighty warrior. Staff Sergeant Patterson today, you and your fellow marines and sailors of 7th Fleet are confronting this regions’ pressing security challenges with unmatched courage and valor. You know what’s going on, you know where we’re talking. You know what we’re talking about. We really appreciate your being here. Daniel, we’re gonna do something that you didn’t expect. Say a few words, Daniel. (crowd cheers)
It’s such an honor and privilege to be here with you Mr. President. And I definitely didn’t expect this. And it’s an honor and privilege to serve with my fellow sailors and marines and drive our mission forward that General Smith and the Commodore and Colonel Brodie has kind of laid out for us. We know why we’re here and we know who we need to aggress. Because if we don’t we let ourselves just sleep on it for even a second then we won’t be the ultimate power in the world. So thank you very much and thank all of you. (crowd cheers)
Good job, Daniel. He’ll be running for political office within two weeks, look. (crowd laughs) Daniel, great, thank you very much, good job. Every day the men and women of the 7th Fleet live out their motto, “Ready power for peace”. You face down terrorism, and render aid in the wake of devastating natural disasters and I’ve seen what you do, incredible. You proudly patrol the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. You defend your homeland and our allies against missile attack with our most advanced radar and weapons systems on the world. We have equipment, missiles, rockets, tanks, planes, ships. Nobody in the entire world can build ’em like we do. Nobody, it’s not even close, you know that better than anybody. Here in the Pacific and around the globe, we want our armed forces to have the tools, resources, and equipment you need and that you deserve. That’s why we have given our 7th Fleet new American made F-35B marine fighter aircraft. Very stealthy, you know that, right? The enemy has a problem with it. You know what the problem is? They can’t see it. (crowd laughs) Other than that, it’s a fair fight, just like my one, and this one right here, that just came out, beautiful. Last year USS Wasp made history when it became the very first ship to deploy these cutting edge aircraft. I want to congratulate you all and you’re getting a lot of brand new ones. We’re getting brand new equipment. You know, when I came two and a half years ago, we had planes that were so old they didn’t make parts for them anymore. You don’t have that anymore, you don’t have that. We’re getting all new, beautiful equipment, we need it, we need it. Peace through strength, right? In April, USS Wasp also became the first ship to deply F-35Bs in the Balikatan Naval Exercise with the Philippines and with Australia. Later this year the USS Wasp returns home, we will be sending the men and women of the 7th Fleet our most formidable amphibious assault ship, USS America. USS America will soon be sailing these Pacific waters and I’m pleased to say that she will also be carrying the most beautiful F-35Bs on her deck, brand new, brand new. My administration is committed to ensuring that America’s military strength forever remains second to none. Over the past two years we have made historic investments in our military. With $700 billion right, general, that’s billions, right? No more, millions, not when it comes to our military. It’s a little bit scary, with a B. Scary, you know it used to be millions, now it’s billions and that’s the way it has to be because we have to protect our country, and we have to protect our allies. And last year, $716 billion, so this year we’re going up and in a very short period of time our military will be completely rebuilt and stronger, bigger, better than ever before, won’t even be close. And we’re very close. And when I took over we were very depleted and you people knew that better than anybody. We were depleted, that’s the only word I can use to describe it, it was not a good situation. But we’re gonna be very close, right now we’re very close, very shortly we’re going to be at a level the likes of which we’ve never been before. This includes money for five new guided missile destroyers, four new nuclear powered fast attack submarines, that’s the one you want? Okay, we got ’em, we got four of ’em. You only wanted one, we got you four. (chuckling) And 163 brand new F-35 joint strike fighter jets. As Prime Minister Abe and I discussed yesterday, Japan also plans to equip the Japanese Self Defense Forces with 105 F-35 aircraft, which would make Japan’s F-35 fleet the largest of any U.S. ally. The U.S.-Japan alliance has never been stronger, the relationship between your president and the Prime Minister of Japan, he’s a great gentleman, great man, is a fantastic one. This remarkable port is the only one in the world where we’re American Naval Fleet and an allied naval fleet headquartered side by side, a testament to the iron clad partnership between U.S. and Japanese forces. Together, you are advancing freedom on the high seas, shielding our nation from dangerous weapons, and preserving the peace that generations of valiant American warriors gave their lives to secure. One of those intrepid Americans was Private First Class John Schaeffer. Born and raised in Tower City, Pennsylvania, Private Schaeffer was a member of a group of U.S. Army Special Forces who fought in the Pacific during World War II under the legendary commander, General Frank Merrill. Good general, good general? Pretty good, right? That’s what they say. Are you better, huh? (chuckling) Just be as good. Although Private Schaeffer sadly perished in the Battle of Burma, his deep love of country endures in someone very special with us today, his grand nephew, Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Schaeffer, where’s Daniel, should I get him up? (crowd cheers) And I wanna thank you very much for the incredible job you’ve done. We picked a couple of people that are outstanding. Please say a couple of words.
Thank you, Mr. President. This is amazing, you have recognized my family, but I know a lot of others have families that served as well. Memorial Day is that time where we honor our fellow Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice so thank you for all my shipmates and fellow marines that are out here today. It’s a great day, thank you Mr. President. (crowd cheers)
Two great jobs, and that’s not easy. They don’t know they’re coming up. You didn’t know, did you, huh? You had no idea, and you both did it. They didn’t choke. We don’t like chokers, do we? We don’t like chokers. We don’t like chokers. (crowd laughs) On this Memorial Day evening, in the United States, Americans are concluding a sacred day of remembrance, reflection, and prayer. Citizens all across the country came together to decorate the graves of our fallen heroes, and to honor their selfless acts of courage. The citizens of our country are incredible, they love our country and they love you. They love you, you have no idea how much they love you. Down through history from America’s earliest days fearless Americans have said goodbye to their loved ones, gone off to war and stared down our enemies knowing that they may never ever return. Memorial Day links every grateful American heart in eternal tribute to those brave souls who gave their last breath for our nation. From Concord to Gettysburg, from Midway to Mosul. Today the unbreakable resolve of these heroes lives on in every American who wears our great uniform. Each day that you serve on these rolling but beautiful seas you honor their sacrifice, you carry on their righteous duty. And you continue their noble legacy. Our republic endures because of brave men and women who are willing to lay down their lives to defend us all. Our freedom is earned through the blood and sweat and toil and sacrifice of great American patriots just like you. As we honor America’s fallen warriors we pledge our unwavering devotion to all of those who serve our nation in uniform. Throughout this region, from Yokosuka to Guam to Singapore to Okinawa to Busan, the 7th Fleet is holding the line and defending the peace. Among the sailors and marines the USS Wasp, you serve as warfare officers, naval aviators, marine riflemen, aircrewmen, corpsmen, machinist mates, avionics tech, go ahead, you can do it. (crowd laughs) Ordinance technicians (crowd cheers) Okay, where are the avionics guys? (crowd cheers) And gals, huh? Right there, good. That’s complicated business, right? Gotta be pretty good. Cooks, fire control men and women, intelligence specialists. (crowd cheers) Who are the intelligence specialists? (crowd cheers) Good, great, great. (crowd laughs) You know that, great. Nurses and engineers (crowd cheers) Nearly every specialty in our 7th Fleet is represented on this ship today. You are the strongest, toughest, best, and bravest. Do you agree with that? (crowd cheers) You better. You are the ones who keep going and striving and keeping America safe and strong and proud and free. You defend our freedom, our families, and you defend our great American flag. (crowd cheers) You show the world the force of American might and American heart and you prove across these perilous waters and far beyond that there is no match on earth for the awesome power and glory of the American Navy and the United States Marines. (crowd cheers) To the men and women of America’s 7th Fleet, the First Lady and I have been deeply honored to be with you all today. Ob behalf of all Americans, we thank you, we salute you, we honor you, we cherish you, and we stand with you now and forever. Thank you to the proud sailors and marines of USS Wasp. (crowd cheers) God bless you, God bless our military, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. (crowd cheers) (“The Washington Post March”)