Dec 10, 2008

Bush greets 2 Marines, gives them kisses

President George W. Bush, center, kisses Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Marc E. Olson, right, of Coal City, Ill., after talking to Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Patrick Paul Pittman Jr., left, of Savannah, Ga., after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008, after returning from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Olson and Pittman were injured when a suicide bomber attacked their entry control point in Ramadi, Iraq. The two were serving with Company A, 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion attached with the 2nd Batallion, 9th Marines.

President Bush stopped on the White House South Lawn to pose for a photograph with two Marines who served in Iraq — and planted a kiss on the head of each.

After climbing down from his Marine One helicopter, Bush walked toward the White House, then stopped and approached the Marines, one of whom was in a wheelchair. The president greeted Lance Cpl. Patrick Pittman Jr., of Savannah, Ga., and Lance Cpl. Marc Olson, of Coal City, Ill.

Bush directed aides to turn Pittman's wheelchair around. Instead, Pittman stood next to the president for the photograph. They were joined by Olson's mother, Pinky Kloski.

Bush had a few words for the two Marines as they stood on either side, then kissed each on the top of the head.

Kloski said the two were injured while serving in Ramadi.

Earlier in the day, the president had traveled to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to speak about the military and strategy during his tenure as commander in chief.