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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters at Fort Bragg, North Carolina

March 25, 1994

Air Collision at Pope Air Force Base

The President. First of all, I'd like to thank General Shelton and General Steele and General Davis for welcoming me here and for giving me an opportunity not only to review the site of the crash but also to go into this hospital and to see not only a good number of the soldiers who were injured but also the people who have been up virtually nonstop for the last 2 days caring for them.

I found it deeply moving. In the first place, the morale of the people who have been burned and injured is high. Their pride in their work and in their country is very strong. And what everybody said about the quality of care they've gotten and the outpouring of effort that has been made to help them deal with their problem has been very moving. Person after person after person said, "You know, I just can't wait to get back to my work. I'm ready to serve again."

It was a deeply moving thing. I'm very grateful to them for their service and to all of those who have cared so well for them.

Q. Mr. President, can you tell us what you talked about or what you said to some of those who you saw today?

Mr. President. A lot of times we just made small talk. I asked them where they were from, how long they had been in the Army, what happened. They talked about it a little bit.

I was especially moved—I met a man and his wife who were both in the incident, both in the service, both injured. The man was injured because he was putting the fire out on his wife. And a lot of these young people were injured because they, instead of taking themselves to safety, were trying to help others who were being burned.

It was a very—I wish everyone in America could have seen the faces, the eyes, the spirit of these people. They would realize how fortunate we are to be served by men and women like this who are both brave and selfless and with no concern other than just to get back to their lives and to their duty. I mean, it is very, very moving. I'm very glad I came. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see this and, again, profoundly grateful to the people in this fine hospital who are taking such good care of them.

Q. Is this one of the worst incidents you've seen?

Mr. President. It was a serious problem, but they've handled it magnificently, I think.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:36 p.m. at Bragg; Maj. Gen. Richard E. Davis, USA, deputy Womack Army Medical Center. In his remarks, commander, 18th Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg. A he referred to Maj. Gen. William M. Steele, USA, tape was not available for verification of the concommanding general, 82d Airborne Division, Fort tent of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters at Fort Bragg, North Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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