President Obama and Vice President Biden on Tuesday had lunch with active duty service members at a Washington, D.C., restaurant to thank them for their service and listen to their concerns and issues.
“This is an opportunity to thank these women and men for their service, and to hear directly from enlisted troops and junior officers before the president and vice president meet with the combatant commanders and military leadership later in the day,” said a White House official.
Obama and Biden lunched at Molly Malone’s on Barracks Row, with a representative from each of the services. They were joined by Marine Corps Corporal Jason Davis, Coast Guard Petty Officer Katie Cole, Army Sergeant First Class Angel Febus Munoz, Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Courtney Williams and Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Cynthia Gamez.
The lunch comes a day after Obama attended the annual Veterans’ Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where he vowed to do more to help the nation’s returning service members transition to civilian life.
“This is how we’ll be judged, not just by how we treat troops in battle but how we treat them when they come home,” the president said.
Obama’s meeting with the service members also comes weeks after a budget fight with congressional Republicans led to a 16-day partial federal government shutdown.
On the eve of the shutdown, Obama released a message to military troops and their families informing them that he had signed a bill to ensure they would be paid after the government reopened and vowing to ensure that they remained “the greatest military in the world — bar none.”