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Germany

Michelle Obama makes surprise Veterans Day visit to US base in Germany

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama surprised some 200 service men and women in Germany, when she visited their air base in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate and helped to serve up a special Veterans Day meal.

Michelle Obama distributing the food

Michelle Obama dished up a special Veterans Day meal

Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States, made her visit to a group of service men and women at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Thursday. Marking Veterans Day, an annual holiday in the US, Obama thanked US military families serving abroad.

"You are ambassadors," she told a group of several hundred military personnel at the US Air Force base. She noted that their families had made great sacrifices in moving abroad.

Michelle Obama helped dish up a special Veterans Day meal for the troops, serving steaks grilled by volunteers. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, peas, corn on the cob, and lemon meringue pie for dessert.

A military spokesman said personnel did not know there would be a prominent guest and were merely told there would be free steak. German media had been reporting for several days that the visit would take place.

The first lady chatted to children, and spoke with the service personnel. She also visited soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan at the nearby US military hospital in Landstuhl.

A plane landing in Ramstein

Ramstein is the biggest US air force base in Europe

Her visit to Germany came after she had accompanied her husband on a tour of India and Indonesia. US President Barack Obama went on to South Korea for the G20 summit.

An estimated 50,000 US nationals live in the area around Kaiserslautern in the west of Germany, most of them connected to the Ramstein air base.

Author: Joanna Impey (AP, dpa)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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