VP says he will return to Puget Sound soon

Vice President Dick Cheney handed out service medals and praise when he visited troops Monday at McChord Air Force Base, later saying he would return to the area soon. About 1,000 troops from the base and nearby Fort Lewis greeted the vice president and his wife. The couple after bought lunch at the base cafeteria.

Cheney gave two Purple Heart medals to Fort Lewis soldiers who were injured in combat and Bronze Star to an Air Force major who helped plan Operation Iraqi Freedom. Five air crewmen who encountered hostile action earlier this month in Baghdad, Iraq, but the landed the aircraft safely, also received Air Medals. “You guys have performed some tremendous missions,” he told the soldiers.

Cheney then attended a Bellevue fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, who is planning to run against Sen. Patty Murray next year, addressing for about 25 minutes the crowd of several hundred people who paid $500 per plate to attend.

He said he planned to be back again in a couple of weeks for another fund-raising party for Republicans.