American Forces Press Service
Sept. 3, 2007 - During a surprise Labor Day visit to Iraq today, President Bush thanked about 700 U.S. troops at Al Asad Air Base for their hard work. "Every day, you show bravery under incredibly difficult circumstances," the president said. "Every day you're working on the sands of Anbar that is making it safer in the streets of America. Every day the United States of America is grateful for what you're doing."
Bush also expressed his gratitude to the troops' families back home. "I want you to tell your families the commander in chief stopped by to say hello and he said, 'I'm incredibly proud to be the commander in chief of such a great group of men and women."
Al Asad Air Base is the second largest airbase in Iraq and is about 120 miles northwest of Baghdad. The Marines are among nearly 35,000 Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen serving in Multinational Force West.
Bush told the troops he was traveling in good company, referring to the top leaders who met with him in Iraq's Anbar province -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker,, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Navy Adm. William Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command, and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq.
"I brought out the A Team," Bush said, "so they could be with the folks that are making a significant difference in this war against these radicals and extremists. In Anbar, you're seeing first hand the dramatic differences that can come when the Iraqis are more secure. In other words, you're seeing success."