US President Joe Biden tells of pride in Suffolk airbase on historic visit
- Credit: PA
President of the United States Joe Biden praised the proud history of a Suffolk airbase on his arrival in the county this evening.
The American commander-in-chief landed at RAF Mildenhall with his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, to kick-off his eight-day European trip just after 7.30pm, ahead of meeting personnel stationed at the west Suffolk airbase.
Hundreds of aviation enthusiasts had eagerly awaited President Biden's arrival in Suffolk, with many arriving early to secure the best spot to see the Boeing 747 land.
On his arrival, President Biden addressed a large crowd of US personnel and their families, and called on them to applaud one another as well as staff from nearby RAF Lakenheath and RAF Alconbury – after joking "I keep forgetting I'm president."
"There is an awful a lot of history at this base," President Biden said. "A proud history for the British people.
"This base has been a significant source of British air power, a source of proud, proud history for a proud nation. But I also know there is an awful lot of American air force pride in this room tonight.
"We are so damn proud of you. There is nothing that Jill and I enjoy more than spending time with our troops and their families wherever we go in the world.
"I know over the last 15 months there has been a lot of added pressure, but you rose together as one team – Team Mildenhall. I am so proud to be here with all of you to kick-off my first overseas trip as President."
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President Biden added the UK-US alliance will remain a "vital source of strength" going forward, adding we are at an "inflection point in world history".
He said he believes now is the time to prove democracies can not only endure in the face of dictatorships and injustice, but excel.
First Lady Jill Biden also referred to the personnel as "heroes", praising them for the work they do representing the United States abroad.
President Biden is not the first US head of state to have touched down in the county, with his predecessor Donald Trump having landed at the base in 2019.