Hometown Boy Obama pays last presidential holiday visit to Hawaii marine base

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Obama and the first lady Michelle visited the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, close to where the presidential couple are vacationing with their daughters

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US President Barack Obama addresses troops with First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua play

US President Barack Obama addresses troops with First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua

(AFP)

US President Barack Obama on Sunday visited American troops at a Hawaii military base, the last time he will participate in his holiday tradition as commander-in-chief.

Obama and the first lady Michelle visited the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, close to where the presidential couple are vacationing with their daughters.

Speaking weeks before President-elect Donald Trump's scheduled inauguration, Obama called his time as commander-in-chief "the privilege of my life."

"Although this will be my last time addressing you as president, I want you to know that, as a citizen, my gratitude will remain and our commitment to standing by you every step of the way -- that won't stop."

Obama also noted that on Saturday he called troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan -- "some of them who, as we speak, are carrying out missions to defeat ISIL," he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

The Obamas traditionally take their year-end vacation in Hawaii. The US state holds special resonance for the president, who was born and spent much of his youth there.

He told troops that even after leaving office he hoped to continue visiting the base "for many years to come."

"I understand that I still have a little rank as ex-president," he said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

"So I still get to use the gym on the base, and of course, the golf course."

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