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Speeches & Testimony

Remarks on Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at MCBH Kane‘ohe Bay

Washington, January 24, 2020

Colonel Lianez and our Marine ‘ohana, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: 

Aloha! 

It is my pleasure to join you today for this ceremony celebrating the completion of these beautiful new barracks. 

To all the Marines here today, those who have served here at K-Bay and those who will serve and reside within the halls of these barracks in the future, I join all Americans in our gratitude for your service and say a special mahalo to your families for their support. 

To be stationed here at K-Bay is to be part of the storied history of a place central to the Indo-Pacific region and its future. Since President Woodrow Wilson established the first military presence here at Mōkapu Peninsula in 1918, K-Bay has been indispensable to the success of the United States Armed Forces in the Indo-Pacific. It comes as no surprise that on the infamous day of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked this base minutes before Pearl Harbor. And of course, the first Japanese aircraft to be destroyed in action was shot down over Kāne‘ohe on that very day. 

Today, the servicemembers stationed here at K-Bay are key to our efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, one in which an international rules-based order and our values of freedom, democracy and human rights can endure and flourish. 

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, ensuring that our Armed Forces have the facilities they need to achieve victory is a key part of my responsibilities in Congress. 

Unfortunately, I know that housing here at K-Bay has not had the greatest reputation. We are changing that with these new barracks, because taking care of our troops is critical to maintaining readiness, and readiness is essential to the success of our military. These barracks will become a place to rest, recover and prepare for the challenges ahead, whatever they may be. 

Generations of military thinkers and policymakers have tied the readiness and success of a military to the well-being of the troops that comprise that military. Over 2,500 years ago, the great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War these famous words: “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys.” 

This idea, that a country bears a solemn responsibility for the well-being of its soldiers, would not have been foreign to the U.S. President who, in his second inaugural address two millennia after Sun Tzu, vowed “to care for him who shall have borne the battle.” 

These new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters we open today is part of that sacred promise to care for our troops. 

Through my work on the House Appropriations Committee and in Congress, I will continue to support projects like these barracks that improve quality of life for our troops and their families. 

I join my colleagues in Congress and all our fellow citizens in standing with you and the Corps “in ev’ry clime and place” and in meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century head-on. 

Mahalo again for your service to our country as United States Marines.

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