In it, but not of it. TPM DC
Upon their arrival, they were greeted by Vice Adm. William McRaven, the head of the Joint Special Operations Command and the man who lead the covert assault on bin Laden's compound.
Also on hand were Brigadier General Jeffrey Colt and Admiral Eric Olson, and Command Sergeant Major Wayne St. Louis, as well as Ann Campbell, the wife of Major General John Campbell, the commanding general of the 101st Airborne, and Marla Schroeder, the wife of Command Sergeant Major Scott Schroeder, the division command sergeant. Both Campbell and Schroeder are still deployed overseas.
Obama and Biden met privately with the special forces team that conducted the mission then spoke to approximately 2,200 soldiers and service members gathered in a hangar.
"I had the privilege of meeting the extraordinary Special Operations folks...," he told the crowd. "It was an opportunity for me to say for all the world, job well done, job well done."
"They're America's silent professionals because their success demands secrecy," he continued. "They could have chosen a life of ease, but like all of you, they trained for years, they're battle hardened, they practiced tirelessly for this mission. And when I gave the order, they were ready."
"These Americans deserve credit ... but so does every person who wears the military uniform. This is the finest military the world has ever known, and that includes you, the 101st Division."
"Thanks to the incredible skill and courage of countless individuals over many years, the terrorist leader who struck our nation on 9/11 will never threaten our country again," Obama said to thunderous applause.
Obama also declared the raid "one of the greatest intelligence and military operations in our nation's history" and vowed to defeat al Qaeda.
"We have cut off their head and we will ultimately defeat them," he said.
Before the speech, the troops sang the "Star-Spangled Banner." The mood was more celebratory than somber after Obama's remarks. Obama and Biden, both ebullient with big grins, worked the crowd as a military band played James Brown's "Living in America" and a jazzy "Hail to the Chief." One woman soldier gave Obama a black jersey emblazoned with the word "Airborne." Banners on the hangar walls declared "Job Well Done," "Fort Campbell, Home of the Screaming Eagles" and "Welcome Home." A huge U.S. flag flew in the backdrop of the podium.
View the President's full speech here: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/president-obama-at-ft-campbell-we-are-going-to-defeat-al-qaeda/