Remarks by President Trump and the First Lady in Memorial Day Address to Troops Aboard the USS Wasp | Eastern North Carolina Now | Remarks by President Trump and the First Lady in Memorial Day Address to Troops Aboard the USS Wasp

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Press Release:

Yokosuka Naval Base  •  Yokosuka, Japan  •  May 28  •  11:26 A.M. JST

    THE FIRST LADY: Hello, everyone.

    AUDIENCE: Hello!

    THE FIRST LADY: 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 to introduce my husband, your Commander-in-Chief, the 45th President of the United States of America. Mr. President? (Applause.)

    AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: What a group. What a group. This is a tough bunch of people, right? (Applause.) And that's good. That's very good.

    And I want to 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. (Laughter.) No, they love you in Japan, honey, and we appreciate it very much. She 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 even begin: At ease! At ease. Just relax. We have plenty of time. Plenty of time. We're going to have a little fun. And I'm thrilled to be aboard the USS Wasp with the brave sailors and Marines, the Seventh Fleet. Special, special people. Thank you very much. Great job. Thank you. (Applause.)

    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. I 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 the Commanding Officer of USS Wasp, Captain Christopher Herr. (Applause.) They like you, Christopher. They like you a lot. That's very good, Christopher. (Laughter.) And the Command Master Chief, Kevin Guy. (Applause.) 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. (Applause.) Thank you.

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    Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. (Applause.) And, you know, they're all such good-looking people. You have all this media over here. They're going to end up in Hollywood. They're going to 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. (Applause.) Thank you, Gregory. Thank you. Great.

    Rear Admiral James Pitts, Commander of the Submarine Group 7. (Applause.) 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. But 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. (Applause.)

    Rear Admiral Fred Kacher, Commander of Task Force 76. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you very much. 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. (Applause.) 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 Seventh Fleet here today, including hundreds who serve on this impressive assault ship, USS Wasp. (Applause.)

    Also joining us are sailors from the following ships: USS Shiloh. (Applause.) USS Chancellorsville. (Applause.) USS Mustin. (Applause.) USS Barry. (Applause.) You love those ships, don't you? Huh? (Laughter.) USS McCampbell. (Applause.) USS Benford [Benfold]. (Applause.) 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. (Applause.) We like them. We like them. The Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team. (Applause.) The Naval Intelligence Operations Center. (Applause.) Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka. (Applause.)

    The Ship Repair Facility. I'll bet you guys do a good job. Do they do a good jobs with the ships, right? (Laughter.) Repairing them. Huh? (Applause.)

    So then, let me ask you a question. Catapult - right? The catapult system. Do you like electric or steam?

    AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Steam!

    AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Electric!

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Steam. Who said "electric"? There's one guy back there. (Laughter.) 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 has 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?"

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    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. (Applause.) Electric.

    AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yeah! (Laughter.)

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: He works for the enemy. (Laughter.) He's all right. We'll - ooh, you might be in danger. I better be careful. (Laughter.)

    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 them. (Laughter.) You know that. No, it's - I really mean it. They want to show 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 going to put an order. When we build a new aircraft carrier, we're going to use steam. I'm going to just put out an order: We're going to use steam. We don't need - 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 them, we have to correct it. So we're going to put out an order: We want to use steam.

    The military doctors and nurses from the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, and many more. (Applause.) 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 Seventh 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. (Applause.) Tough-looking guy.

    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.

    AUDIENCE: Oo-rah!

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right? (Laughs.) 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 the Seventh Fleet are confronting this region's 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, I'm going to do something that you didn't expect. Say a few words, Daniel. (Applause.)
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