First Lady visits Pease Published July 5, 2021 By Senior Master Sgt. Timm Huffman 157th Air Refueling Wing PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- First Lady Dr. Jill Biden helped kick off the Independence Day weekend celebrations for some members of the New Hampshire National Guard and their families when she stopped for a visit at Pease Air National Guard Base, July 3. The visit was part of White House leadership’s America Back Together tour, which had Biden stopping in states across the Northeast. After touching down, she was greeted planeside by NHNG leaders NH Adjutant General Maj. Gen. David Mikolaities and Command Chief Master Sgt. Erica Rhea, the 157th Air Refueling Wing command chief. The dignitaries travelled the short distance to the base’s Missions End function area, where the First Lady was introduced to about 40 Guardsmen and family members by Victoria Mastrobattista, the daughter of Maj. Michelle Mastrobattista, a doctor with the 157th Air Refueling Wing’s medical group. In a brief speech to the gathered service members, Biden shared her love for Independence Day and thanked the service members and their families for their role in bringing New Hampshire through the COVID-19 pandemic. “If you can remember back just a few months, it was hard to believe that we’d ever be able to gather like this on the fourth of July, but here we are,” she said. “We’re getting back to the things we missed so much, like hugging the people we love, and catching up with friends face-to-face, and smiling at strangers. And what made all of this possible? You. You all did,” she said. Biden noted the NHNG’s support to food pantries across the state, the delivery of PPE and surge beds, and the administration of more than 100,000 COVID-19 tests and 800,000 COVID-19 vaccines as being particularly critical. “I know it wasn’t easy. It meant time away from your jobs and your families. But you answered the call to make sure New Hampshire had what it needed to push forward,” she said She also took time to highlight the sacrifices made by families when their loved ones are called to active service during times of crisis and the critical role that plays in the success of our nation’s defense. “Thanks in part to all of you, the National Guard and your families, we have come so far in this last year and I’m so glad to be able to spend this Fourth of July with people who mean the most to us and America is back together,” she said. Following her speech, Biden took time to meet and take photos with each service member and family in the audience, before departing base for another local event.