INDIANAPOLIS | A Portage airman was among the Hoosier troops stationed in Germany that Gov. Mike Pence met Monday on the first stop of his jobs mission to Indiana's largest European trading partner.
Lt. Benjamin DeLaCruz, a 2007 Portage High School graduate, helped show the Republican governor and first lady Karen Pence around the sprawling Ramstein Air Base and participated in a discussion with the governor about the role of U.S. forces in Europe.
"On behalf of the men and women serving overseas, I would like to thank Gov. Pence for visiting Ramstein today," DeLaCruz said in a statement released by the governor's office. "Also, much thanks to the men and women from the great state of Indiana for directly supporting the mission by manufacturing the equipment that we use here every day."
Humvees and C-190J engines are made in Indiana and operated by members of the 435th Air Base Wing and 86th Airlift Wing stationed at Ramstein.
Pence, who will meet this week with business leaders in Aachen, Wipperfürth, Gelsenkirchen, Hanover and Berlin, said he was thankful he first could visit with U.S. military forces.
"On behalf of all Hoosiers, I was honored to express our gratitude to those serving us in uniform for their dedication, courage and sacrifice," Pence said. "Our Hoosier troops play an integral role in the operation of our nation's military forces in Europe. Watching them serve as our American flag waved above us filled my heart with pride for what our young men and women are doing in the name of service to our nation."
The Pences also delivered handmade cards from Indiana elementary school students to wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest military hospital outside the continental United States.