As you know, one of our own, Dr. Janice Weixelman (Janice.Weixelman@bgab.afcent.af.mil), is stationed in Afghanistan, and some of my blogs in the past have talked about her adventures. I received an e-mail from her today that I wanted to pass along to you all. Very cool stuff!
“We had a surprise visitor last night – President Obama. His visit was unannounced until about an hour before he arrived. We knew we had a “Distinguised Visitor” or DV coming in, and that he must be quite important because Security Forces were setting up stations all around the base and beginning to question people trying to come and go from certain areas.
Our C-130 OPS unit is located on the flightline, of course, about 1/3 the way down the airstrip from where the airplanes land on the strip. I was in the OPS area, getting ready for an airdrip mission when we heard “the Eagle has landed.” That phrase clued us in to who the visitor was. Air Force had landed after many Army Helicopters had flown in and parked on the flightline right outside our OPS office. That area is where our C-130’s park, we are not accustomed to having Army out there, including helicopters, so it was an unusual sight. Air Force One pulled in a short time after that.
Obama spoke to the military members in our new hangar, which is actually not yet completed. This is a very large building that will hold 2 C-130’s and the maintenance area for them, so it is large. It is estimated there were 3500-4,000 troops in the hangar (1 troop = 1 person). It was almost 2 hours before Obama came in to speak, as he went to the hospital first, then came to speak to the troops. Because of the location of the speech (the C-130 hangar), I was only 25 feet from him while he spoke at the podium. After the speech, he circled around the area shaking hands and thanking people for their service. So I shook Obama’s hand!
The timing of his visit and speech has been a benefit as the members here are showing the signs of a lot of fatigue. This time of year seems hard on people, and the recent cold weather coupled with high winds contributes to physical stress as well.
God Bless America
Janice Weixelman, Capt
You can see a video of The President speech in Afghanistan on YouTube.