Vice President's Wife Meets with San Diego Military Spouses

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class David L. Smart
Special to American Forces Press Service

NORTH ISLAND, Calif., May 15, 2009 - The wife of the vice president spoke with military family members and support group representatives at the Island Club on Naval Air Station North Island here yesterday.

President Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have made support for military members and their families a priority since taking office. Joe and Jill Biden met with sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego yesterday after the vice president announced the Defense Department's plan to expand its housing assistance program with $555 million for servicemembers forced to sell their homes at a loss during the national housing crunch. Afterward, Jill Biden met with local military spouses and community volunteer groups to discuss issues facing military spouses.

"A few months ago I did something similar," Biden said. "I went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and I had the chance to hear from spouses and talk about some of the things that they were facing as military spouses.

"We talked about child care," she said. "We talked about problems they were having at the local schools, and I also heard from some of these ladies that the community came together and supported these families.

"I'm also pleased that so many volunteer organizations are here today and look forward to hearing from you because your work is really critically important."

The Bidens had lunch with sailors aboard USS Ronald Reagan, carrying their message of support and appreciation to the crew. The vice president then visited other Navy commands, giving Jill Biden the opportunity to meet with spouses and volunteers.

"I'm here to listen. That's my job today," she told the group. "I'm a teacher and you know I'm a mom, so one of my strengths is that I'm a good listener."

This is the first time the Bidens have been to San Diego since the inauguration.

"I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to meet her," said Twanya Brass, an Operation Homefront volunteer and military spouse. "This lets me know they really care about what's going on with the military and the military spouses."

Christi Carr, chairman of volunteers at the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society said, "I think it means a lot. Her background as a college professor and taking the time out to help with the military, I think is wonderful. We should be honored that she is here."

(Petty Officer 3rd Class David L. Smart serves with Navy Public Affairs Support Element West).

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