As Vice President-elect under the Trump administration, the Republican politician Mike Pence has been the center of both attention and controversy over the years.
While Pence has served in many areas of the U.S. government, he did not serve in the U.S. military. Pence is a former congressman and the 50th governor of the state of Indiana. He also worked as a conservative TV talk show and radio host in the 1990s. He had his own radio show called “The Mike Pence Show” in Indianapolis.
This is not to say that the culture surrounding the U.S. military lifestyle didn’t influence Pence– his father, Edward Pence, fought as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
Carrying a Family Legacy
He participated in the battles of Pork Chop Hill and Old Baldy and earned a Bronze Star for his service.
Like many veterans, Edward Pence’s time in the U.S. Army changed him.
Relatives of Mike Pence have looked back saying that before his time in Korea, Edward Pence was a happy and carefree man.
At a Veterans Day service at the Arlington National Cemetery in 2017, Pence spoke of a sentiment his cousin shared with him about his father’s outlook on his time in the Military.
According to Pence, his cousin said, “’I don’t think your dad ever got over the guilt of coming home.”
At the same ceremony, Pence went on to say, “That’s when I understood the quiet cost of freedom, and the burden so many of our veterans bear in their hearts.”
A Public Display
Since taking his seat alongside President Trump in 2016, Pence has proudly displayed his father’s Bronze Star in his office at The White House.
Almost 64 years to the day after his father was awarded the honor, Pence himself traveled to South Korea.
He told the press, “I think about what Dad would be thinking about and is thinking about as he looks down — at this third son — to return to the place he came so many years ago and the commitment that endures here that has resulted in a free and prosperous South Korea.”
His Take on Military Policy
As a conservative, it is no surprise that Pence takes a strong and glorified stance towards the role of the U.S. military.
Pence announced in 2018 that the Trump Administration had plans to create a sixth branch of the U.S. military. They called it “Space Force.”
At the time, Pence stated the project would require a whopping $8 billion in funding over the subsequent five years.
While awaiting congressional approval, the Department of Defense made plans to plow forward with the creation of a United States Space Command, among other efforts.
In late 2019, a compromised version of the National Defense Authorization Act was negotiated between the House and the Senate that included the establishment of the U.S. Space Force. It was agreed to be included as a sector of the Air Force.
On December 20, 2019, Trump signed the new NDAA into law. In doing this, he created the first new armed service since 1947.
The authorization meant a total of $738 billion in spending on military services for the 2020 fiscal year.
This is only a fraction of what the Trump Administration has spent on defense over the term of the presidency. That adds up to $2.5 trillion.
2020 Goes Blue
Joe Biden was officially announced as the 2020 U.S. President-Elect.
During this election cycle, the Trump Administration made claims of mass voter fraud tangled with the enormous use of mail-in-ballots in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“And as our election contest continues in courts around the country, I promise you: We will keep fighting until every legal vote is counted, until every illegal vote is thrown out,” Mike Pence said at the Council for National Party meeting on November 14, 2020.
Along with other remarks of a successful presidential term, Pence claimed in his speech that “Four years ago, we inherited a military that was hollowed out by devastating budget cuts.”
“But under President Donald Trump,” Pence said, “In four short years, we rebuilt our military, we restored the arsenal of democracy, we revived our economy, we secured our border, we stood with law enforcement, and we stood for life and liberty and the Constitution of the United States of America.”