"I will never hesitate to use force to protect America," Obama said to a crowd of approximately 2,000 service members and their families. "I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America's vital interests. And if it is necessary, the United States of America will have your back. We'll give you the strategy and clear mission you deserve….That is a promise that I make to you."
Before his address, Obama met with the family of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan. He also met with about a dozen troops as he often does on visits to military bases, as a way to hear directly from service members about their experiences on the ground.
Obama, the first U.S. president born in Hawaii, the 50th state to join the United States, noted that this was his first time to Alaska, the 49th state to join the union.
"Up until today I had visited 49 states, so this is officially my 50th state," Obama said.
The president has a wide-ranging agenda for this first trip to Asia. White House officials said this week he will address trade issues, climate change, the war in Afghanistan and nuclear non-proliferation, including continued talks on Iran and North Korea.
But officials were reluctant to say what tangible results Obama will achieve, instead focusing on the ongoing discussions he will have on these subjects.
After Japan, Obama will make stops in Singapore, China and South Korea, and will meet with the leaders of those nations. He will also hold side meetings with other world leaders such as Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.
ABC News' Rachel Martin contributed to this report.