SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The vice president and his wife visited USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) May 14 as part of a familiarization tour of naval facilities in the San Diego area.
During his visit, Vice President Joe Biden commented on the Ronald Reagan Strike Group's successful 2008 deployment, which included humanitarian assistance in the Philippines and combat operations in Afghanistan.
"You are agile, capable in a variety of missions, and you're brave enough to succeed every time you are deployed," Biden told the 2,000 Sailors.
"A grateful nation owes you."
Much to the delight of the crew, the vice president and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, sat down for lunch with Ronald Reagan Sailors after his speech.
"It's exciting; a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Elizabeth Irby. "I was speechless when he sat down with us. He was intriguing and inspirational."
"Having the vice president visit is something I wouldn't get to do in any other job," added Machinist's Mate Fireman Alecia Guerrera. "It's nice to hear his support for the military and Reagan in particular."
The vice president posed for hundreds of photos with Sailors, thanking them individually for their service.
"I hope you all realize how much we support you," he said.
Dr. Biden, who along with First Lady Michelle Obama is a staunch advocate of military families, was scheduled to meet with area ombudsmen to discuss family readiness issues.
"Your loved ones will not be alone when you deploy," she told the Ronald Reagan crew. "Your country appreciates your courage and strength."
USS Ronald Reagan is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 7 and the ninth of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship is named for the 40th president, its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.