Vice President of the United States Mike Pence visited Fort McCoy on May 16 as part of an overall Wisconsin visit.
During his stop at Fort McCoy, Pence learned about military equipment; met with hundreds of Fort McCoy workforce, military, and family members; and gave a speech at an Equipment Concentration Site-67 building.
"It is an honor to be here at Fort McCoy - the 'Total Force Training Center,'" Pence said in his speech.
The vice president was greeted on his arrival by Fort McCoy Senior Commander and 88th Readiness Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Jody J. Daniels and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Farmer, 88th command sergeant major, and received a briefing about an RG33 Medium Mine-Protected Vehicle from Lt. Col. Charles Wells, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 340th Brigade Engineer Battalion (3rd/340th), and Command Sgt. Maj. Rathe Thompson, 3rd/340th command sergeant major, at Fort McCoy.
"It was a wonderful experience," Wells said of his opportunity to brief the vice president. "I'm glad I got the opportunity."
Pence said he welcomed the opportunity to visit the installation.
"The president (Donald J. Trump) wanted me to be here today to make sure you all knew how much we appreciate the work you do here at Fort McCoy, and the way that you make sure that our military (is) ready," Pence said. "The efforts that you provide here each and every day - through the generations you've provided - here at Fort McCoy have made America safer. And we're grateful, and we're proud.
"I stand before you today, on behalf of your commander-in-chief and a grateful nation, to pay a debt of honor and a debt of respect to each and every one of you," the vice president said. "You stood up, you stepped forward to protect our families, our freedom, and our way of life."
Further into his speech, Pence discussed the post's capabilities and more.
"You know, it's an honor for me to be with all of you today," he said. "It's amazing to think that, for more than a century, Fort McCoy has been at the very center of America's national security.
This base trained artillery units in World War I; it hosted the historic Second Army maneuvers during World War II preparing tens of thousands of Soldiers for deployment overseas; and for 35 years, Fort McCoy has trained more than 100,000 military personnel every single year from every branch of the service, faithfully executing your mission to "Underpin Total Force Readiness.'
"In fact, some of the (nearly) 150,000 members of the United States military came to Fort McCoy in the last year alone, preparing themselves for deployment at a moment's notice to go anywhere in the world in defense of freedom," Pence said. "So to all the men and women who train here, who work here at Fort McCoy, to all the civilian support, let me assure you that your commander-in-chief and I, and the American people, know that the work you do here is vitally important - vitally important to our national security."
The vice president also addressed the administration's gratefulness to the military community overall, recognized several awards earned by Fort McCoy units, discussed current events, and stressed the importance of a strong military.
"I leave here today with renewed confidence that as long as we have men and women with the courage to serve, the selflessness to step forward; as long as we have heroes willing to put their lives on the line for our freedom; and as long as we have patriots like all of you, we will protect this nation," Pence said. "We will defend our freedom. And we will forge a future of security, and prosperity and peace for ourselves and generations to come."
In addition to visiting Fort McCoy, the vice president also went to Eau Claire, Wis., and Volk Field prior to coming to Fort McCoy. At Volk Field, he met with Wisconsin Air National Guard Airmen and other personnel.
"The American people love the men and women of our armed forces, and they are grateful for your service," Pence said in his speech. "You also carry with you the confidence of your commander-in-chief and all of those in our chain of command and the leadership who see the extraordinary professionalism here at Fort McCoy."
Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services each year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on Facebook by searching "ftmccoy," and on Twitter by searching "usagmccoy."