By Senior Airman Jason Burton, 509th Bomb WIng Public Affairs
/ Published November 03, 2006
WHITEMAN AFB --
"It's a battle we are going to win," said Vice President Dick Cheney about the war on terror.
That was the overall message he shared with more than 2,000 Whiteman members during a troop rally Friday.
"This war is lengthy and difficult. Much has already been asked of us, and a great deal of work is still ahead," Mr. Cheney said. "And yet the outcome is certain. We'll prevail in the war on terror, and that victory will mean a better and safer world for our children and our grandchildren."
He went on to explain what makes this war different from others.
"In this new era, Americans have learned that oceans do not protect us, and threats that gather thousands of miles away can now find us here at home," he said.
"These enemies don't assemble standing armies or navies to confront us. Instead they operate in small cells; they dwell in the shadows; and they hide in caves on the other side of the world. And yet they are driven by an ideology of violence, and they are absolutely determined to cause great harm to the United States of America."
Mr. Cheney said that with these terrorists there can be no negotiations, or appeals to reason or conscience. "We only have one option, and that's to take the fight to the enemy," he said.
To carry on in this fight, Mr. Cheney said we need to project force across great distances, to hit targets with precision, and to move and maneuver without the enemy being able to track us.
"That's exactly what we're able to do with the stealth technology of the B-2 Bomber," he said.
Many of Whiteman's achievements during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom were highlighted by the vice president and he emphasized the continued importance of the B-2.
"These aircraft remain essential to the continuing fight against terror, and to the defense of this nation in a world that still presents many challenges to the United States," he said.
Mr. Cheney said we must always look to the challenges of the future, and prepare to fight any adversary, meet any contingency and overcome any obstacle that might present itself.
Freedom still has enemies, Mr. Cheney said. Those enemies use tactics of terror against Coalition forces and innocent civilians in hopes to intimidate us, but they will not succeed, he said.
"The war on terror is a battle for the future of civilization," he said. "It is a battle worth fighting. It's a battle we are going to win."
While military and family members waved miniature American flags, Mr. Cheney thanked all of Team Whiteman for their contributions on the war on terror, stating that "There's none finer than a 509er."
"There's no way I could overstate how impressed I am with your work, or how much it means to your country and to the cause of freedom," he said. "To be with you, and to know all that you do each and every day, makes me even prouder to be an American."
"The people of the United States are especially grateful to the 509th Bomb Wing," Mr. Cheney said. "With amazing reach and accuracy, uncompromising standards of excellence, and tireless performance, you've written a new and proud chapter in military history. We depend on you to 'kick down the doors and kill the targets,' and you always get the job done 'on target, and on time.'"
Mr. Cheney closed his speech by saying that the war on terror is a test of the nation's strength, capabilities and above all a test of our character. He said that he has never had more confidence in the nerve and will of the American people.
"We look at you, the men and women of our military, and feel a kind of gratitude and pride that is almost impossible to express," he said. "America's cause is right. America's cause is just. And with you in the fight, America's cause will prevail."
After his speech, Mr. Cheney presented Master Sgt. Mike Morin, 509th Security Forces Squadron, with a Bronze Star for exceptionally meritorious service during OIF while deployed to Camp Bucca, Iraq.
After the medal presentation, Mr. Cheney walked around the stage and shook hands with Whiteman members.
Before the vice president spook to the troops, Brig. Gen. Greg Biscone, 509th Bomb Wing commander, opened the rally by thanking everyone involved in making the event happen.
"We all know events and settings like this don't just happen," General Biscone said. "So please join me in a special round of applause for all of those who worked so hard this week in and out of the rain to give us this opportunity."
After hearing the vice president's speech, Staff Sgt. Daniel Bolduc, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said he felt the speech was very motivating. "It definitely let us know where we stand with the war on terror," he said.
Staff Sgt. Matt Callaway, 509th Maintenance Operations Squadron, also had good things to say about the vice president's visit.
"I thought the speech was great and the whole event was very good," Sergeant Callaway said. "I am glad he took the time to come and talk to the troops."
Sergeant Callaway added that he thought the visit helped boost morale and it feels great to know that higher-level leadership sees the great things done by Team Whiteman.