Watch: Trump And Pence Make History At Fallen Soldiers' Tribute, This Will Make Your Proud!
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made history Monday night when the pair paid tribute to two fallen soldiers from Afghanistan. For what must be security reasons both the president and VP do not attend tributes together. It hasn't happened since 2009, but Trump and Pence made an unplanned visit to comfort the families of the fallen directly after Trump New Hampshire rally.
After a brief prayer inside a C-17 transport plane, the president and Vice President Mike Pence stood at attention in a light rain as two U.S. flag-draped transfer cases were carried down the plane’s ramp by six members of the military wearing white gloves. The cases contained the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Antonio R. Rodriguez, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Sgt. 1st Class Javier J. Gutierrez, of San Antonio, Texas, who both died Saturday in a firefight in Nangarhar Province.
According to DailyWire, also attending the ceremony were people traveling with the president, including daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
National security adviser Robert O'Brien told reporters traveling with Trump aboard Air Force One that the president had wrapped up a reelection campaign rally in New Hampshire early so he could be with the families. O'Brien described such moments as "probably the toughest thing he does as president," along with visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
"These are terrible sacrifices for the families. And these guys are heroes, they're real warriors and did a great job for the American people," O'Brien said. "These are tough times. It's tough for the president but he thinks it's important to be there for the families and recognize them."
Gutierrez was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and lived in San Antonio. He had also served in Iraq. Rodriguez was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He deployed eight times in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel, which began in 2015. Both men were posthumously promoted to sergeant first class and awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
Six U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of 2020, including Saturday's casualties. Last year, 20 U.S. service personnel died in combat there and there were two non-combat deaths.
The incident came as Washington has sought to find an end to the war in Afghanistan.