January 3, 1986

Ladies and gentlemen, I can't tell you what this welcome means to me. And I know so many that had a hand in it -- all of you here at the El Centro naval facility, members of the Navy League, and the Fleet Reserve Association. I'd like to say a special greeting, also, to Congressman Duncan Hunter and Mika Camarena, whose husband gave his life for all of us in the fight against the drug traffic. And my thanks to the Holtville Band. I think you're well known to some of them here.

Well, this is, as I say, a very great welcome. I know that the El Centro naval facility is not only a great training center here for all of our Navy pilots but is the winter home of the Blue Angels, host to the Royal Air Force Falcons. There's only one thing, as an old ex-horse cavalryman: How come this Navy facility is out here in the desert? May I just say to all of you -- and I know that time is of the essence and I must get in this and cross the border -- may I just say that of all the things that one can find to be proud of in a position such as mine, nothing has made me more proud than the men and women in uniform in our Armed Forces. God bless you all. And every time I read some things like Mr. Qadhafi sounding off the way he does, I just think to myself about all of you, and I can't be bothered with Mr. Qadhafi.

But again, God bless you all. Thank you all for being out here. This is very heartwarming. I'm most grateful. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:01 a.m. at Hangar 4 of the naval air station, before departing for his meeting with President De la Madrid Hurtado in Mexicali, Mexico. In his closing remarks, he referred to Libyan Chief of State Mu`ammar Qadhafi.