President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina Monday to serve a meal to 400 Marines their families. The event was part of the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative, focused on connecting with military families.

“What a lot of people don’t understand until they run into you, and that is you are literally the greatest fighting force in the history of the world,” Biden told the service members on Monday evening. “I traveled the world a lot … and no one misunderstands your competence. No one in the world misunderstands you are the finest trained force in the world.”

The meal was prepared by celebrity chef Robert Irvine alongside active duty Marines, cooking up ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and all the sides. This is the second time the Robert J. Irvine Foundation has teamed up with Cherry Point support military families.

“What a lot of civilians don’t realize is that your sacrifice just isn’t limited to risking life and limb,” said Irvine. “The promise and freedom we enjoy in this country is unrivaled. And we don’t take that lightly. Thank you for your sacrifice.”

Chef Robert Irvine and Lance Cpl. Oscar Aguilar, with food services, 2nd Landing Support Battalion, prepare mashed potatoes for Friendsgiving dinner aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., on Nov. 21, 2022.
Staff Sgt. Mark Morrow/Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Governor Roy Cooper was also there with the Bidens greeting Marines and their families. Earlier in the day, Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper were at the White House for the annual presidential pardon for turkeys Chocolate and Chip from Monroe, N.C.

Military spouse Jennifer Gonzalez, wife of Anthony, a gunnery sergeant, and mother of four, introduced the president to the crowd, and spoke of spoke of the sacrifices military family members make.

“Military families are different,” said Gonzalez, before introducing the president. “We go through a lot of trials and challenges that shape us into who we are. It is through the challenges we face that we grow and adapt and overcome any obstacle.”

MCAS Cherry Point is in eastern North Carolina and recently celebrated its 247th birthday.

“MCAS Cherry Point is honored to host Friendsgiving,” said Col. Brendan Burks, MCAS Cherry Point commanding officer. “The Marines, Sailors, and families of the Carolina MAGTF were excited to be in the company of our commander in chief and first lady.”