The reason for the casual get-together with the troops at Molly Malone's Barracks Row was two-pronged: to thank them for their service and to get direct feedback from enlisted troops and junior officers ahead of the two leaders' meeting later in the day with combat commanders and military leadership.
Getting the opportunity to meet with their commander in chief and second in command were Coast Guard Petty Officer Katie Cole, who joined the service in Buffalo, N.Y.; Army Sgt. 1st Class Angel Febus Munoz of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Marine Cpl. Jason Davis, of Dothan, Ala.; Navy Lt. j.g. Courtney Williams, a native of Arkansas; and Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Cynthia Gamez, stationed in Virginia.
The party sat in a corner table with reporters kept at bay behind a bar across the room, which kept them primarily out of earshot, though at one point the president could be heard asking a service member, "Where are you from originally?" and Biden's laughter was audible throughout lunch.
When a pool radio reporter knocked a glass off the bar, smashing it on the floor, Obama quipped, "Put that on their tab."