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Obama at Air Force Academy graduation: Nobody can match America's military

"'On Target, On Time,' nobody can match America's Air Force," Obama said Thursday during the military academy's commencement address.

By Doug G. Ware
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Obama at Air Force Academy graduation: Nobody can match America's military
President Barack Obama delivers the graduation address to the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2016 on Thursday at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. Eight-hundred and twenty-one cadets graduated to become the newest 2nd Lieutenants in the Air Force. Photo by Mike Kaplan/U.S. Air Force/UPI | License Photo

COLORADO SPRINGS, June 2 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado on Thursday, saying the U.S. Air Force is second to none and that he'll miss flying with it.

"I have to tell you, some days I spend more time with the Air Force than with my own family," Obama quipped. "Especially on Air Force One."

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Obama went on to say he is going to miss flying on the presidential plane when he leaves office in January.

"You take good care of me. You are always on time. You never lose my luggage. I don't have to take off my shoes before I get on. So I'm really going to miss Air Force One," he said in opening his commencement address at the Colorado Springs academy.

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The president went on to commend the academy's graduates.

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"I look out into your ranks and I see airmen who will excel as pilots and engineers, analysts," he said. "Today we congratulate our newest Air Force officers. On behalf of the American people, I thank you for choosing a life of service."

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"Our military is, by a mile, the strongest in the world," he said. "Our military is the most capable fighting force on the planet, and it's not close.

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"Nobody can match our Army. ... Nobody can match our Navy. ... Nobody can match our Marines. ...Nobody can match our Coast Guard. As for our airmen ... astonishing precision that calls to mind your actual class motto, 'On Target, On Time,' nobody can match America's Air Force."

Obama also praised the academy's football team, which visited the White House last year after winning the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for a record 19th time. The trophy is given each season to whichever football team wins the series among the Air Force, Army and Navy. The Navy won the trophy last season.

After finishing his speech, Obama saluted and shook the hand of every graduating cadet.

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But before the ceremony concluded, the president continued a longstanding tradition at the academy's commencement by "pardoning" Air Force cadets serving punishments on campus.

"I hereby grant amnesty to all cadets serving restrictions and confinements," Obama said, pausing before adding the qualification to that offer. "For minor offenses. Only minor."

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