May 15, 2015; 19:00
Welcome Remarks by U.S. Ambassador David D. Pearce
Vice ADM Dimitriou, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Governor and other distinguished guests, it is an honor to be with you tonight on board the U.S.S. McFaul. Commanding officer Gunther we thank you for your hospitality this evening as we celebrate Armed Forces Day.
I would like to start by thanking the crew of this fine ship for their service to our nation. You do us proud.
I would also like to thank our Greek hosts for their hospitality. You and your offices provide essential support and services to the U.S. military on our numerous visits to this beautiful island, and to other ports of call around Greece.
Today we mark Armed Forces Day, which was first celebrated in 1950. The day was created by President Truman after the consolidation of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines in the United States Department of Defense. It is a time for all Americans to realize the role that the military plays in the nation’s life: obviously protecting American lives and livelihoods, but also as driving technological progress and instilling national pride among all Americans.
In many ways this ship is a symbol of how wide-ranging the work of the U.S. Armed forces really is. For the past seventeen years, the U.S.S. McFaul has enabled our country to stop piracy on the high seas, shut down terrorist training facilities, and help people of countries hit by hurricanes and earthquakes.
In several of these operations, the Greek military has been an important partner. Through NATO and other organizations, the U.S. and Greece have worked together to make the region a safer and more stable place.
I’d like to end by saying, again, thank you to the officers and crew aboard the U.S.S. McFaul. This Armed Forces Day is a great time for us all to reflect on the importance of the work that you do. I’d like to pass the floor now to Captain Gunther and I can’t think of a better place to do that than here in Rhodes, with our Greek friends and partners.