Obamas visit US military base in Hawaii

The US` first family is spending its Christmas vacations in Kailua.

Kaneohe: US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Saturday visited a US military base here to celebrate Christmas with men and women in uniform.

The first family, which is spending its Christmas vacations in Kailua, in the northeast of Oahu Island, made the unannounced visit yesterday to the marine base at 3:30 pm local time (0230 GMT Sunday).

The President and the first lady spent about an hour and a half with the marines, shaking hands, taking pictures and sharing a Christmas meal.

Obama had already visited this base during his previous Christmas vacations in 2008 and 2009.

Earlier yesterday, the President and the first lady paid tribute to members of the US military and urged Americans to support men and women in uniform.

"Today, we`re also thinking of those who can`t be home for the holidays -- especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas," Obama said in his Saturday radio address, which he delivered together with his wife.

Michelle Obama urged Americans to support troops either personally or through volunteer work at "organisations that support military families”.

"And anybody can send a care package or pre-paid calling card to the front lines, or give what`s sometimes the most important gift of all: simply saying `Thank you`," the first lady noted.

Since moving into the White House in January 2009, Obama has tripled the number of US troops in Afghanistan, bringing the numbers up to about 100,000.

At the same time, he has reduced the number of US servicemen stationed in Iraq to about 50,000, with a full withdrawal of US forces scheduled for next year.