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Navy News Service
Story Number: NNS160711-07
Release Date: 7/11/2016 9:56:00 AM
By Ensign Seth Wartak, Explosive Ordnance Mobile Unit 8 Public Affairs
ROTA, Spain (NNS) — President Barack Obama made his inaugural visit to Naval Station Rota, July 10, and spoke to more than 2,400 U.S. and Spanish service members gathered at the Explosive Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8 headquarters.
During his speech, Obama thanked service members for their service, highlighted the United States’ unchanging commitment to Europe, and spoke on a range of other issues.
“In this moment of uncertainty in Europe, we will remain steadfast allies through NATO — the strongest alliance that the world has ever known,” said Obama. “All of you embody the spirit of cooperation and resolve as much as anyone and my main message here today is to say, ‘thank you.’ On behalf of a grateful nation, we’re proud of you. We thank you for your service and we thank your inspiring families as well, for all that they do to make sure that you can do your jobs.”
Speaking to the future, Obama proclaimed, “I am absolutely confident that people of goodwill will ultimately overcome those forces that seek to divide and destroy us.”
Obama also toured the EODMU 8 facility, shaking hands with, and expressing his gratitude to the Sailors he passed.
“I could not be more proud of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 and our Thunderstealers’ operational resiliency over the past 25 years since its inception,” said Cmdr. Gareth Healy, EODMU 8 commanding officer. “President Obama’s visit to Naval Station Rota, and Mobile Unit 8 specifically, is an enormous honor to our Sailors, civilians, and Thunderstealer families. EODMU 8 presented our commander-in-chief a naval force poised with the integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness to strengthen our network of partners in the European and African theaters and protect our national interests from explosive threats, be they ashore or in the sea.”
EODMU 8 is forward-deployed to Rota, Spain and serves as the EOD element of Commander, Naval Expeditionary Task Force Europe and Africa (CTF 68). EODMU 8 forces have been operationally employed in combat action in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Yemen, Djibouti, Kuwait, Liberia, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and is the most decorated naval unit in the European and African theaters.
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