Court side on the Carrier Obama Salutes Veterans, Watches Close Basketball Game

President Obama saluted service members on Veterans Day aboard the USS Vinson just before watching tight basketball game between University of North Carolina and Michigan State taking place on the carrier.

He said, "One of the greatest privileges of this job, and one of the greatest responsibilities of this job, is to serve as your Commander-in-Chief. And I can tell you that every day when I interact with our military, every day when I interact with the men and women in uniform, I could not be prouder to be an American."

Wearing a bomber jacket with the words "commander-in-chief" on it, he called the two basketball programs two of the "greatest in history," the avid basketball player president said he was proud to be watching the sporting event.

The teams donned special uniforms, still in their school colors, but in camouflage. They also had big "U.S.A" letters on the backs of their jerseys.

The game started close, but the Tarheels pulled ahead in the double digits before half-time.

Just when they were about to spill over into a +20 surplus, the Spartans were able to inch within 10 points with five minutes left in the second half.

A revved up crowd, more than 8000 comprised of mostly military members, relished the good hoops aboard the historic ship.

The Vinson's last major mission was burying the body of Osama bin Laden at sea.

In remarks before the game, Obama noted the significance of the vessel, which has taken part in Iraq missions and disaster relief.

"It's especially appropriate that we do it here, because the USS Carl Vinson has been a messenger of diplomacy and a protector of our security for a long time," Obama said. He added that the ship brought bin Laden to "justice."

Earlier in the day Obama marked the day by laying a wreath at Arlington Cemetery in Washington before flying to California for the game.

Obama had front center courtside seats. He refrained from picking sides, staying neutral when each team scored, not cheering and staying center.

The game ended with the Tarheels beating the Spartans, 67-55.