On D-Day, the Coast Guard famous Matchbox fleet served valiantly through every hour of the greatest amphibious invasion in the history of our country. One Coxswain said the water boiled with bullets like a mud puddle in a hailstorm, but still the Coast Guard braved death to put our boys on Utah and Omaha beaches. Every Coast Guardsman is trusted to put service before all. Coasties plunge from helicopters and barrel through pouring rain and crashing waves to save American lives.
They secure our borders from drug runners and terrorists in rough seas at high speeds. Their sharpshooters take out smugglers’ engines with a single shot. They never miss. When the red racing stripes of a Coast Guard vessel break the horizon, when their chopper blades pierce the sky, those in distress know that the help is on their way, and our enemies know their time has come.
These guardians of our waters stand Semper Paratus. They are always ready. They are the United States Coast Guard. Representing the Coast Guard today you will soon see an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter based at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, along with an HH-65 Dolphin from air station Atlantic City and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry from air station Miami.
[Coast Guard flyover with song]
Thank you. Thank you to the Coast Guard.
On a cold December morning in 1903, a miracle occurred over the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. When two bicycle makers from Ohio defied gravity with a 12 horsepower engine, wings made of cotton, and just a few dollars in their pockets. Just six years later, America was training its first pilots to take these magnificent machines up and over the field of battle.
In World War One, our flyboys rushed the skies of Europe, and aces like Eddie Rickenbacker filled hearts and headlines with tales of daring duels in the clouds. General Billy Mitchell saw the promise of this technology and risked court-martial in his quest for an independent Air Force. He was proven right.
When empires across the oceans tried to carve up the world for themselves, and America stood in the way, we wouldn’t let it happen.
After Pearl Harbor, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and his raiders flew B-2 bombers off a carrier deck in the deep Pacific in a daring feat of American resolve. And as President Roosevelt said:
“The Nazis built the fortress around Europe, but they forgot to put a roof on it.”
So we crushed them all from the air. 177 Liberator bombers flew dangerously low through broad daylight without fighter protection to cripple the Nazi war machine at Ploiești. More than 300 Airmen gave their lives to destroy the enemy oil refineries, and five pilots were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions in that single raid.
It was airmen Chuck Yeager, who first broke the sound barrier. It was airmen like Gus Chris and Buzz Aldrin, who traded their Sabre jets for rockets to the stars. And It is our incredible Airmen today who will the most powerful weapon systems on the planet Earth. For over 65 years, no enemy air force has managed to kill a single American soldier because the skies belong to the United States of America.
No enemy has attacked our people without being met by a roar of thunder, and the awesome might of those who bid farewell to earth and soar into the wild blue yonder. They are the United States Air Force.
Representing the Air Force, you will soon see beautiful brand new F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. And one Magnificent B2 stealth bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
[Air Force flyover with song being played]
What a great country!
In October of 1775, The Continental Congress ordered the construction of two swift sailing vessels, each carrying 10 cannons and 80 men to sail eastward. Our young fleet tested their sea legs against the most powerful Navy the world has ever seen.
John Paul Jones, America’s first great naval hero said:
“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
He got his wish, many times, when his ship was shot into pieces off the coast of England by a British vessel and their four dozen guns. When demanded to surrender, Jones very famously declared, “I have not yet begun to fight.”
When our Navy begins fighting, they finish the job. The War of 1812 Captain James Lawrence fell with his brothers on the USS Chesapeake. His dying command gained immortality: “Don’t give up the ship.”
In the Battle of Mobile Bay, Admiral David Farragut lashed himself to the rigging of his flagship to see beyond the cannon smoke, crying, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”
In World War Two, it was aviators launched from the carrier Enterprise, Hornet, Yorktown, who filled the skies of Midway and turned the tide of the Pacific War. Nobody could beat us. Nobody could come close.
On D-Day, SeaBee engineers came ashore to destroy blockades and barriers making way for the invasion. Many lost their lives, but they took the German defenses with them. And our men crushed upon the beaches like a mighty storm.
From the naval demolition units of World War Two arose a force that became famous in the Mekong Delta. They don’t want to see our force again. The very best of the very best, the Navy SEALs.
It was the SEALs who delivered vengeance on the terrorists who planned the September 11 attack on our homeland. It was the SEALS who stand ready to bring righteous retribution in mountain, jungle, desert, to those who do us harm.