A report from an Air Force officer
First, let me say that I've moved three presidents up to now and I've seen incredible waste. But, the "new" guy really takes the cake. I don't have an issue with the President promising his wife dinner and a show or that he even takes his wife out. But, when I saw the news say that the date cost $24,000, here's what you DON'T know.
Three days before "dinner" a C-17 flew Marines and the helicopter maintenance equipment to JFK Airport . The day before "dinner" I flew the USSS and the motorcade to JFK Airport. Our crew of 5 spent two days and nights at the Hilton in Times Square. My hotel bill: $621.66 plus $64 a day in per diem. The USSS guys were at a different Hilton in NYC, so figure that cost another $14,000 (or so) plus per diem. The Marines had to have cost as much and were there four days, so figure another $55,000 plus per diem (for 44 Marines).
We were supposed to fly the motorcade back and go home, but the Air Force was so short C-17's that we were re-tasked to take the motorcade back, return to JFK and take the helicopter back to Quantico. When we got back to JFK, while the pilot was turning the plane around to park, he noticed a rotor blade sticking out of the hangar where the helicopter was parked and informed me that either it wasn't ready to transport or it was flying home.
After shutting down I walked over to the hangar and to my surprise I find FIVE helicopters, not ONE. We're obviously not transporting five big helicopters. I went and talked to the Marines guarding the "fleet" and found that they were flying all five helicopters home and we were only transporting the Marines and the maintenance equipment.
After talking to the Marine(s) in charge, I was told that the White House requested FIVE helicopters. The Marines told me that they spent all morning trying to figure out how much it cost them to come and said they figured it cost them $140,000 to stay there (I don't know where they came up with that)and the trip's total had to be about $1,000,000.
We heard that the President didn't use Air Force One (the 747) so I asked if he came in on one of the 757's. I was told that he came in on THREE Air Force Lear jets.
So, date night consisted of: 2 C-17's flying three missions, 3 Lear jets, 5 Helicopters, Presidential Motorcade, 44 Marines, more than 20 USSS personnel on our plane. Who knows what it cost the NYPD and NY Port Authority (at the airport) in overtime.
These are the same people that chastised the automobile CEO's for using their aircraft. It further proves that the media only use the facts that make the President look good and hide any facts that will detract from his persona. Is this the 'change' we expected?
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Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here