Michelle Obama honours US troops in Germany

First Lady Michelle Obama surprised a group of US servicemen and women based in Germany, jumping in to serve them steaks at a special Veterans Day meal.

Last Updated: Nov 11, 2010, 20:58 PM IST

Ramstein Air Base: First Lady
Michelle Obama surprised a group of US servicemen and women
based in Germany on Thursday, jumping in to serve them steaks at a
special Veterans Day meal.

"Oh, my God! Where`s my camera," gasped Lavondee
Stallings, a preschool teacher whose husband serves in the
military, as Obama entered the banquet room at Ramstein Air
Base`s Officers Club.

Stallings was one of some 200 people with whom the
First Lady spent time during a refuelling stopover on the way
home from her tour of Asia with President Barack Obama.

"I am missing Sasha and Malia desperately," Obama said
of her daughters as she spoke to the group gathered for the
donated steak dinner, grilled by volunteers from the
California-based Cooks of the Valley.

"But it is a thrill to be here with you guys, because
we are so grateful to all of you," she said. "Not just our
servicemen and women, but their kids, wives, husbands and
parents."

After serving, Obama went through the room doling out
hugs, handshakes and warm thanks to troops and their families.
She also chatted with their children, asking how they
were doing in school and if they worked hard.

Ten-year-old Malaysia Chevere got a special shout-out
when she told the first lady about her grades.

"She`s a straight-A student!" Obama told the room, as
the fifth-grader and her mother beamed.
"It made me feel real proud," said Malaysia`s mother,
Sgt. Calvernette Chevere of Williamsburg, Virginia. "She (the
first lady) made everyone here feel real special."

Mashed potatoes with gravy, peas, corn on the cob,
garlic bread and lemon meringue pie rounded out the menu.
Ahead of the stop at Ramstein, Obama met with wounded
troops recovering at the nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical
Center - the largest US military hospital outside the United
States, which regularly receives casualties from Iraq and
Afghanistan.

Besides meeting with the American troops, Obama was
meeting with her German counterpart, Bettina Wulff, before
continuing her journey back to Washington.

Elsewhere in Germany, US troops based at the
Grafenwoehr training range were participating in a Veterans
Day competition to be carried live on ESPN television.
Events included a weapons assembly shuttle run, tug of
war and 10-ton truck tire flip.

PTI