Updated 4:51 p.m. Eastern Time
President Obama met on Friday with Navy SEALs who took part in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.
The meeting took place before Mr. Obama spoke to service members at Fort Campbell, Ky., who have recently returned from deployment.
A White House official said that Mr. Obama and Vice President Biden met first with some of the Special Operations forces who carried out the operation, who briefed the president on the mission. The president and vice president then met with the full assault force.
Mr. Obama awarded the units who were involved in the raid a Presidential Unit Citation - which the official called "the highest such honor that can be given to a unit" - for their service.
Speaking to the Fort Campbell service members following the meetings, the president called the team members "extraordinary."
"They're America's quiet professionals whose success demands secrecy," he said, lauding the men for volunteering to serve their country instead of choosing a "life of ease."
"They trained for years; they're battle-hardened," he said. "They practiced tirelessly for this mission. And when I gave order, they were ready. In recent days, the whole world has learned just how ready they were."
"Job well done," Mr. Obama added, to cheers. "Job well done."
Mr. Obama noted that the men, whose identities are not being released, were not present in the audience.
Biden, who spoke before Mr. Obama, told the service members that U.S. fighting forces "are the most capable warriors in the history of the world."
"This is going to go down in history, what happened," Biden said, calling the raid "one of the gutsiest" ever.
In the closed-door meetings, which also included meetings with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and the 5th Special Forces Group, Mr. Obama "was able to speak and offer his personal admiration and gratitude for our servicemembers, and to personally greet them," the White House official said.
"I came here for a simple reason: to say thank you on behalf of America," Mr. Obama told service members following the meetings. "This has been a historic week in the life of our nation."
He said it had been a week to remind Americans who they are as a people.
"The essence of America, the values that have defined us for more than 200 years -- they don't just endure, they are stronger then ever," he said.
The president told the uniformed troops that America is "ultimately going to defeat al Qaeda," and said the group's leadership was under enormous pressure even before bin Laden was killed. The president said while there is still a tough fight ahead -- both against al Qaeda and in Afghanistan -- progress has been made.
"Our strategy is working and there is no greater evidence of that then justice finally being delivered to Osama bin Laden," he said.
Mr. Obama also took time to laud the 125 troops from Fort Campbell "who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
The White House initially refused to address reporters' questions about the planned meetings. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would say only that Mr. Obama was meeting with "special operators" involved with the raid, adding that it was "extremely important" that he not say more.