Obama, who delivered emotional remarks at the Armed Forces Full Honour Review Farewell Ceremony, noted the negative effects of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the military but said that had not diminished their capability.
“But make no mistake, even with the challenges of recent years – and there have been challenges -, our allies and adversaries alike understand America’s military remains, by far, the most capable fighting force on the face of the Earth.
“Our Army, tested by years of combat, is the best-trained and best-equipped land force on the planet.
Our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world — on track to surpass 300 ships. “Our Air Force, with its precision and reach, is unmatched.
Our Marine Corps is the world’s only truly expeditionary force. Our Coast Guard is the finest in the world. “And we’re also the best because this military has come to welcome the talents of more of our fellow Americans,” he said. The outgoing president also noted the impressive bravery and professional performance of the women combatants.
“Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love. All combat positions in our military are now open to women. “And Joe Biden and I know that women are at least as strong as men.
We’re stronger for it. It’s one of the reasons that our military stands apart as the most respected institution in our nation by a mile.” He recalled his moments with the servicemen during his eight-year presidency, having to face many challenges together. ” I’m very grateful for that because you remind us that we are united as one team. At times of division, you’ve shown what it means to pull together.
“As my days as your Commander-in-Chief are coming to an end, and as I reflect on the challenges we have faced together and on those to come, I believe that one of the greatest task before our Armed Forces is to retain the high confidence that the American people rightly place in you.
“This is a responsibility not simply for those of you in uniform, but for those who lead you. It’s the responsibility of our entire nation,” he said.
Obama also threw a challenge to the American military and political leaders in taking military actions. The outgoing commander-in-chief said while the event was meant to appreciate and praise him, he was rather turning it on them.
“And so, although I recognise that the formalities require me listening to praise directed in large part to me, I want to turn the tables – I am still Commander-in-Chief, so I get to do what I want to do – and I want to thank you. “Of all the privileges of this office – and there are many – I will miss Air Force One, I will miss Marine One but I can stand before you today and say that there has been no greater privilege, and no greater honour, than serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military in the history of the world.”
The outgoing commander-in-chief, who said he would be eternally grateful to the servicemen, expressed the confidence that America would continue to maintain its leadership role across the globe.
“So we can’t say it enough and we can’t show it enough. Thank you for your patriotism. Thank you for your professionalism. Thank you for your character in representing the very best of the American spirit. Our nation endures — we live free under the red, white and blue – because of patriots like you.
“It has been a privilege of a lifetime to serve with you. I have learned much from you. I’m a better man having worked with you. I’m confident that the United States and our Armed Forces will remain the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known.
“God bless you and your families. And God bless the United States of America,” the outgoing president concluded.