Governor Mike Pence began his jobs and economic development mission to Germany today by visiting Hoosier troops at Ramstein Air Base, the headquarters of U.S. Air Forces Europe and home to the 86th Airlift Wing.
"On behalf of all Hoosiers, I was honored to express our gratitude to those serving us in uniform for their dedication, courage and sacrifice," said Pence. "Our Hoosier troops play an integral role in the operation of our nation's military forces in Europe. Watching them serve as our American flag waved above us filled my heart with pride for what our young men and women are doing in the name of service to our nation. Extending our thanks and sharing a few souvenirs from home, courtesy of our very own Pacers team, was a privilege. When they choose to return home, the skills they are building today will serve them well as they help our economy follow a path of growth and new discovery."
Airmen and women of the 435th Air Base Wing and 86th Airlift Wing met with Governor Pence and First Lady Karen Pence during the visit that included a tour of the base and an open forum with Hoosier service members.
"On behalf of the men and women serving overseas, I would like to thank Governor Pence for visiting Ramstein today," said Lt. Benjamin DeLaCruz, a Portage, Ind. native and Indiana State University graduate. "Also, much thanks to the men and women from the great state of Indiana for directly supporting the mission by manufacturing the equipment that we use here every day."
Humvees and C-190J engines, both seen by the Governor on the air base tour today, are manufactured in Indiana, demonstrating the significant Hoosier contribution to U.S. military operations both at home and abroad.
On the heels of the Indiana Pacers' win over the Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday in Indianapolis, the Governor and First Lady passed out an assortment of Pacers apparel and items to Hoosier service members to proudly display support for the state's team as the Pacers head into the playoffs. Also, the Governor and First Lady passed out cards that were created by students at Parkside Elementary School in Columbus, Ind.
In addition, the Governor and First Lady visited wounded service men and women recovering at the nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest military hospital outside the continental United States. It is located in Landstuhl, Germany and serves as the nearest treatment center for seriously wounded service members coming from Afghanistan.
Following his visit to Ramstein, Pence met with executives from Zentis GmbH, Europe's leading fruit processing company. The company's first North American operation and headquarters is located in Plymouth, Ind. where it employs more than 260 associates. On Tuesday, the Governor will tour its headquarters in Aachen, Germany and learn about its vocational training program before traveling to Wopperfurth, Germany to meet with leaders of VOSS Automotive GmbH, the parent company of VOSS Automotive, Inc. in Fort Wayne.