Jill Biden

Jill Biden `Proud' US Military Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon, She Says During Oceanside Military Visit

NBC Universal, Inc.

First Lady Jill Biden told an Oceanside audience Saturday that she was proud of the U.S. military after U.S. jets shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast.

"We're more aware of the military when we're in times of war, but now we're in times of peace," Biden said. "I mean, I felt such a sense of pride about the effort and that our military shot down the balloon, how coordinated it was, how thoughtful it was, that it was decided to wait until it was over water so that civilians weren't affected," Biden continued. "I hope that most Americans -- I hope when they watch that they really think about our military ... Joe and I think about them every day, we pray for them in our prayers at dinner."

An operation was underway Saturday in U.S. territorial waters to recover debris from the balloon, which had been flying at about 60,000 feet and traversed sensitive military sites across North America, U.S. officials said.

Biden made the comments while visiting The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic to participate in a roundtable discussion with military family members, Cohen Veteran Network leaders and staff, and representatives of U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

The first lady later arrived at Camp Pendleton at 2:10 p.m. Saturday and took photos with members of the military there to greet her before she departed for the Los Angeles area. Biden arrived at Hollywood/Burbank Airport at 3:06 p.m. White House officials said she would attend and be a presenter at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday at the Microsoft Theater.

The visit was part of Biden's Joining Forces initiative, which supports military and veteran families, caregivers and survivors with a focus on economic opportunity for military spouses, military child education and health and well-being.

On Friday, Biden spent about a half-hour at the Logan Heights Family Health Center Family Health Clinic, participating in a panel discussion on cancer. Biden discussed federal efforts to improve cancer screenings and early detection programs for communities with limited healthcare access.

"Really early detection is the key," Biden said Friday. "A lot of cancers are curable. You're always scared when you hear the word cancer but they don't need to be afraid like people were 10 years ago, because now things have advanced so far."

First lady Jill Biden arrive in San Diego just after 2:30 p.m. on Friday as part of a California trip in support of the administration's efforts regarding cancer treatment and initiatives for military and veteran families.

The center received a $100,000 grant in September from the Biden administration's Cancer Moonshot initiative, whose goals are cutting the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years, and improving the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer.

Biden then spent 54 minutes aboard the USS Gabrielle Giffords, where she brought Oggi's pizza to the crew members of the Independence-class littoral combat ship who were on duty and unable to join her at a dinner for crew members and their families on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Kidd hosted by the Armed Services YMCA.

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