Obama Arrives At Dover AFB To Pay His Respects To Fallen Troops

Aug 9, 2011
Originally published on August 9, 2011 11:53 am

President Obama arrived unannounced at Dover Air Force base in Delaware, today. He was there to pay his respects to the 30 troops killed in Afghanistan over the weekend. The remains of the servicemen were brought home by two transport planes.

NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is traveling with the president, has this report:

The Chinook helicopter crash was the deadliest single incident for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the war began a decade ago. 30 Americans were killed, almost two dozen of them Navy SEALS.

President Obama said Monday, the loss is a reminder of the risks that men and women in uniform take every day.

"I know that our troops will continue the hard work of transitioning to a stronger Afghan government and ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. We will press on and we will succeed," he said.

Admiral Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also traveled to Dover for the ceremony.

The remains arrived as "unidentified" until the Armed Forces Mortuary Affairs Office at Dover can make a positive identification.

The Pentagon decided that press would not be allowed to see the remains being carried off the plane. Back in October of 2009, Obama made his first trip to Dover to watch 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan come home.

The images of a president saluting while a team carried each of the remains off the plane in flag-draped cases were sobering. Obama, reports the AP, would later say it was the most powerful moment of his presidency.

While the government hasn't officially released the names of the dead, family members have started to come forward. The AP reports that, "those killed included young fathers, accomplished athletes and people of deep faith. One had dreams of becoming an astronaut after military service. All were deeply committed to the cause."

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