HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Vice President Mike Pence made three stops in Hampton Roads on Wednesday.
Pence started the morning with a tour in Hampton at the NASA Langley Research Center, then spoke to a crowd gathered there.
During the afternoon, he toured Hampton University’s Proton Therapy Institute in honor of Black History Month. The tour aimed to highlight the university’s advanced cancer research and treatment. Then, Pence had a roundtable talk with students and patients before traveling to Virginia Beach to meet with Navy special warfare operators (SEALs).
NASA Langley Research Center
The largest wind tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center was the first stop for Pence Wednesday morning as he toured different buildings.
After the tour, he got the chance to see ‘virtual reality’ at work in the centers ‘Structures and Materials Lab.’
He made a few other stops and then came to speak with those who work at Nasa Langley.
“Thank you for what all of you were doing in this renewed mission for American leadership in space,” Pence said.
The vice president also spoke to those in the crowd about the push to do more.
“Thanks to so many of you here, before we even get to the summer, with strong support of all of you, the United States will return American astronauts to space on American rockets, from American soil,” said Pence.
Pence also spoke about getting the first woman and the next man, back to the moon.
The next stop from there, Mars.
He says the people and history at Nasa Langley will be a vital part of this.
“We’re going moon to Mars and Langley Research Center is going to get us there,”
— Mike Pence | Vice President of the United States
While Pence was at Hampton University Wednesday afternoon, security was tight as the vice president met university staff, students, and even patients who are receiving treatment.
The team at Hampton University’s Proton Therapy Institute, which Pence visited, works tirelessly with patients to treat many types of cancer.
“Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute is just an incredible asset for Virginia and for the United States of America. This is an educational institution with a tremendous reputation,” said Pence.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in America.
In Hampton Roads, Hampton University President Dr. William Harvey says prostate cancer hits the top spot.
“The fact that we are fighting that disease and doing a good job of it, I like to say that we’re easing human misery and saving lives,” Harvey said.
Derek Ilttis is a patient at Hampton University who’s nearing the end of his treatment for prostate cancer.
He says its important for Pence to see the amazing things that are happening locally at the institute.
“Because they provide the funding, and funding is needed in order to grow the facility and also treatment centers across the country,” Ilttis said.
Pence touched on the funding President Trump secured for HBCUs like Hampton University and the importance of them, especially during a time like Black History Month.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also joined for the tour.
“My encouragement is to think about what 10 to 15 years from now you’re going to be known as … in addition to being an HBCU with a powerful important legacy,” said Devos.
The tour ended with a roundtable discussion with Hampton University students.
Harvey said the tour went well.
During his last stop of the day, Pence met with naval special warfare operators in Virginia Beach.
At NAS Oceana, Pence spoke with WAVY’s Andy Fox about the strength of the military in our area.
“…to see the incredible military resources that we have across Hampton Roads has been truly inspiring to me as vice president and an American,” Pence said.
We’ll have more of Andy’s interview with the vice president online and on air on WAVY News Thursday.
Stay tuned with WAVY News for more updates on Pence’s visit to Hampton Roads.