Schwarzenegger praises 'action hero' troops

Arnold Schwarzenegger hailed British troops as the "true action heroes" today.

The governor of California joined Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to Wellington Barracks, near Buckingham Palace, where he met soldiers from 1st Battalion the Grenadier Guards.

He told the troops: "I get hailed a lot of times when I travel around the world as being the action hero.

"But I know the difference between a movie action hero who is make-believe and the true action heroes.

"You all are the true action heroes because you are risking your life.

"You are risking your life every day when you go out to the front so I say thank you, thank you, thank you for the great work that you are doing."

Speaking in front of about 300 troops, Mr Schwarzenegger said: "I'm always interested to hang out with heroes."

He paid tribute to the UK armed forces for being "great partners" with the US and doing a "great job".

He asked what made the two countries great, with freedom, economic prosperity and opportunities.

And he said: "It's because you, for hundreds of years, have fought for the freedom, to keep these countries free and to keep these countries strong and to have the freedom of speech. Many countries in the world don't have that."

The former Mr Universe said he had walked about the barracks and visited the gym.

He said: "First of all, I was amazed when I saw your guys pumping up in the gym with those deltoids and those biceps and the six-pack. Wow, you guys are really in great shape."

But he said he then went to the rehabilitation centre where he met a man who had a cage around his lower leg with pins through it who was undergoing months of intense recovery treatment.

He said: "That, to me, is really tough and brave. To make this mental adjustment and to go through this pain and torture and through the rehabilitation training, I admire that.

"This is the kind of strength I see in each and every one of you when I look in your eyes."

The battalion returned in April from a six-month tour in Afghanistan, during which five of their men died.

Mr Cameron said the men had a "very tough tour" in Afghanistan but faced it with "incredible bravery and dedication".

He continued: "We are not in Afghanistan to build the perfect democracy.

"We will never leave behind a sort of Switzerland in the Hindu Kush but we can make that country safe from terrorist training camps, which will make us safe back here at home.

"I think the British public understand that and I think we have the strength of character to see this through and to see it through successfully."

He said he wanted to "celebrate the incredibly close relationship between Britain and America".

He continued: "I think you saw that for yourself in Helmand Province where there are now 10,000 British forces and 20,000 US Marines and I could see how closely we were working together."

He said he was in regular contact with President Barack Obama, adding: "We are absolutely united in making sure we make Afghanistan safe from terror and that will make us safe from terror."

Introducing Mr Schwarzenegger, star of films including The Terminator and Commando, the Prime Minister said: "He's made a few movies which have involved a fair amount of what I think you would call kinetic action.

"I suspect you've watch a few of them."

Earlier, the two men stood side by side to watch the changing of the guard.

The governor, wearing a bright pink tie, was slightly shorter but also noticeably broader than Mr Cameron.

Surprised tourists clamoured at the railings to get a view and take photos.

After a private meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Roly Walker, Major Andrew James and Major Vince Gaunt, the pair joined soldiers in the canteen during lunch.

Some of the young soldiers gathered around to take pictures, with one saying: "That's going up on my Facebook page."

Before the visit to the barracks, the men met in Downing Street where Mr Cameron joked that the former action hero was going to help him "terminate" the UK's budget deficit.

As conservatives who have each tried to broaden their appeal by looking at environmental and social issues, the two men have struck up a firm friendship in recent years.

As Mr Cameron welcomed Mr Schwarzenegger to Number 10, the PM joked: "He's going to help me terminate the budget deficit."

Taking advantage of a visit to London to renew their acquaintance, the pair held brief talks in the White Room, where dealing with deficits was among the topics.

The outgoing governor unveiled a budget package last week aimed at closing a 19 billion US dollar (£12 billion) shortfall - representing more than 20% of the giant US state's spending.

It avoided tax rises by imposing cuts and delaying corporate tax breaks but was criticised for relying on over-optimistic predictions of future revenues.

Mr Cameron, who had been due to host a party for Baroness Thatcher's 85th birthday tonight, was also overheard telling Mr Schwarzenegger it was "quite a day" as he was meeting "the Iron Man and the Iron Lady".

Lady Thatcher later pulled out of the Downing Street reception after being taken ill with flu.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London