FORT BLISS, Texas — In an election-year reminder that he ended the war in Iraq, President Barack Obama vowed Friday to help soldiers, veterans and their families overcome economic and health care struggles as they return to the nation they served.
Surrounded by a sea of men and women in fatigues, Obama saluted their service, but cautioned that a "tough fight" remains in Afghanistan even as the U.S. works to transfer security control to Afghan forces. He said the troops' return home now presents different challenges.
"After fighting for America you shouldn't have to fight for a job in America," Obama said. "To you and all you serve, we need to be there for you just like you were there for us."
Obama's visit to the vast Fort Bliss Army post in El Paso came on the second anniversary of the end of combat operations in Iraq. While officially not a presidential campaign trip, the visit also served clear political aims by highlighting the end of one unpopular war and the wind-down of another and drawing attention to Obama's role as commander in chief.
Obama also visited Fort Bliss on Aug. 31, 2010, the day he announced the end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq. Fort Bliss soldiers participated in the invasion in 2003 and were among the last to serve in combat roles .