133rd AW Hosts Air Force One - Twice

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Mark Moss
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Air Force One brought President Barack Obama to the ramp of the 133rd Airlift Wing on August 30, 2011, only two weeks since his last visit to the Minneapolis - St. Paul area and the Minnesota Air National Guard base at the airport. The presidential visits were for a three state bus tour on August 15 and a speech to the 93rd Annual Conference of the American Legion in Minneapolis on Aug. 30, according to the White House.

The president flies in a VC-25A, which is a highly customized Boeing 747-200B, and it is the job of the 133rd Airlift Wing to support the commander-in-chief, his aircraft, and all of the agencies associated with the visit. This support includes Airmen from almost every Group on base. Maintenance and Operations provide for the big jet and other aircraft associated with the visit. It could be something as visible as putting the chocks under the front wheels of Air Force One, or many other tasks which are mostly behind the scenes.

From Mission Support Group, Airmen from Communications, Security Forces, Logistics Readiness and other units put it hours of support before, during, and after the visit concludes. Again, most of this is behind the scenes. For example, fuel was pumped into the VC-25A by Senior Master Sgt. Steve Tuttle and Master Sgt. Timothy Hayes of the 133rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, where they worked directly with the active Air Force crew chiefs assigned to Air Force One.

"They are very easy to work with," Hayes says about the men and women assigned to the president's jet, "and very professional."

Perhaps the most visible part of the support is from the Minnesota National Guard leaders who are on the tarmac to welcome President Obama to the air base. Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota Adjutant General, and Col. Greg Haase, commander of the 133rd Airlift Wing delivered crisp salutes as the president stepped off the plane.

Mr. Obama spent a lot of time with the Airmen, family members and other well-wishers in a greeting area where he shook a lot of hands, signed autographs and exchanged words of thanks for the support.

All of this was captured by commercial media covering the presidential visit, including live TV shots and imagery and stories from newspapers and other outlets, much of it on the Internet. The Wing also provides administrative support and captures imagery of the visits.