By Douglas DeMaio, USAG Bamberg Public Affairs and Mark Heeter, USAG Schweinfurt Public AffairsJuly 7, 2009
BAMBERG, Germany (July 7, 2009) -- The second lady visited with U.S. troops and family members in Germany's Franconia region over the Independence Day weekend before traveling to Paris to deliver a keynote address at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, 2009 World Conference.
Dr. Jill Biden visited Bamberg, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage city, July 3, and Schweinfurt the following day to show her appreciation for members of the military and their families.
"The second lady's visit here shows me how supportive this administration is to the troops," said Staff Sgt. Neil Montevirgen, a 54th Engineer Battalion Soldier stationed in Bamberg.
Biden said visiting troops and their families was a "logical step" before her speech.
"I wanted to say thank you to our troops for what they have done and to bring greetings from the administration," she said.
Biden had lunch in Bamberg with Reserve Soldiers of the 7th Civil Support Command and visited with Soldiers in the 54th Engineer Battalion and their family members during their reintegration training.
"I'm here as a military mom, an Army military mom," Biden told family members and Soldiers of the engineer battalion.
The battalion returned from Iraq two days before Biden's visit and some Soldiers said they had met Biden's son while they were deployed. Capt. Beau Biden is a member of the Delaware National Guard who is deployed in Iraq.
"Knowing she has a son in the military lets me know they will give us a higher level of support," Montevirgen said, who has met the captain while downrange.
Being a member of the military family is something very personal to the second lady, she said.
"I know how hard it is for me, as a mom, to have my son deployed," Biden said.
The second lady said sharing this Army family bond can give others comfort in knowing the administration understands difficulties and issues Soldiers and their families face.
Biden spoke with, and listened to, many Soldiers and their family members. If someone had an issue, Biden directed them to people who recorded their dilemma, so it can be examined later in further detail.
"It helps military families to know how hard we are working on their behalf," she said. "We're working hard so they get the benefits they deserve."
Biden said the administration is trying to raise awareness about improving educational and health care benefits for veterans, servicemembers and military family members.
On July 4, Biden traveled to Kessler Field in Schweinfurt where she spent Independence Day with the troops and their families. Three Schweinfurt-based battalions are currently deployed to Iraq.