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Vice president of the United States visits 319th Air Base Wing

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence addresses a crowd of Airmen July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. Pence highlighted the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, and thanked those in attendance for their hard work and dedication to maintaining the everyday operations of Grand Forks AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence addresses a crowd of Airmen July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. Pence highlighted the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, and thanked those in attendance for their hard work and dedication to maintaining the everyday operations of Grand Forks AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, second lady of the United States, egress the C-32 Air Force Two July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. Mrs. Pence sat down with spouses of Airmen to discuss quality of life improvements, and the vice president learned more about the Airmen of Grand Forks AFB and the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission before thanking a crowd of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, second lady of the United States, egress the C-32 Air Force Two July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. Mrs. Pence sat down with spouses of Airmen to discuss quality of life improvements, and the vice president learned more about the Airmen of Grand Forks AFB and the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission before thanking a crowd of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence reaches out to shake hands with several Airmen July 25, 2018, after arriving to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. During his visit, Pence was able to get a glimpse into some of the Grand Forks AFB missions, to include worldwide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance using the RQ-4 Global Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence reaches out to shake hands with several Airmen July 25, 2018, after arriving to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. During his visit, Pence was able to get a glimpse into some of the Grand Forks AFB missions, to include worldwide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance using the RQ-4 Global Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence stands in front of Airmen during a speech to Warriors of the North July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. Before speaking to the troops, Pence visited the Global Hawk Operations Center in addition to receiving a mission brief about the RQ-4 Global Hawk capabilities from the 348th Reconnaissance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

Vice President of the United States Michael Pence stands in front of Airmen during a speech to Warriors of the North July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. Before speaking to the troops, Pence visited the Global Hawk Operations Center in addition to receiving a mission brief about the RQ-4 Global Hawk capabilities from the 348th Reconnaissance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Team Grand Forks gathered in attendance to receive a message from Vice President of the United States Michael Pence, who visited Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, July 25, 2018.

Before speaking to the troops, Pence learned about RQ-4 Global Hawk worldwide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and saw the aircraft in person.

Pence’s talk was focused around highlighting the importance the mission Grand Forks AFB serves to national security, and he thanked the Airmen on base, all of whom directly impact the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission.

“The 69th Reconnaissance Group flies the Global Hawks that give our theater commanders the intelligence, surveillance and target-acquisition data they need to defeat any enemy, anywhere, anytime,” he praised. “And the 319th Communications Squadron operates America’s High Frequency Global Communications Systems, which ensures our military leaders, including your commander in chief, are able to maintain strategic command and control across the world.”

After wrapping up his speech, Pence took time to shake hands with Airmen in attendance.

Col. Benjamin Spencer, 319th Air Base Wing commander, spoke excitedly about Pence’s visit before introducing the vice president to the audience of Airmen.

“I’ve only seen three of these visits in my 24 years of service: two presidents and one vice president,” Spencer explained. “I told all young Airmen not to take this visit for granted because they could serve 20 or 25 years in the Air Force and maybe not see it again.”

Senior Airman Clayton Ethridge, mental health technician with the 319th Medical Operations Squadron, said this was his first time ever meeting a vice president before.

“I can’t explain the feeling,” he said. “It’s really great to see our vice president taking the time to come out and support what we do here at Grand Forks Air Force Base.”