President and Mrs. Bush Visit Utah,

Meet Air and Army Guard Members

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published August 25, 2005

       

President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush wave to the crowd as they arrive at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush

wave to the crowd as they arrive at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

SALT LAKE CITY — For only the second time in his administration, President George W. Bush visited Utah Monday, Aug. 22.

The commander in chief was here to speak at the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), held this year in Salt Lake City. Bush’s first visit to Utah was in 2002 when he presided over the opening ceremonies of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Air Force One touched down at Salt Lake Air Base at 10:37 a.m., beginning Bush’s brief two-hour stay in the state. First Lady Laura Bush and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, exited the plane with the President and were met by a small welcoming party.

Among those who greeted the president were Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.; Congressmen Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Chris Cannon, R-Utah; Utah National Guard Adjutant General Brian Tarbet; Command Chief Master Sgt. Allen Chapman, 151st Air Refueling Wing, Utah Air National Guard and Brigham City resident Willie Hunsaker, a member of the VFW and World War II veteran who was to receive a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

A lucky few prepare to board Air Force One for a guided tour of the presidential aircraft while the president was downtown giving a speech.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

A lucky few prepare to board Air Force One for a guided tour of the presidential aircraft while the president was downtown giving a speech.

From the air base Bush traveled by motorcade to the Salt Palace where he delivered his speech to VFW members. And while the President was downtown, a small group of local citizens were treated to an exclusive inside look at Air Force One.

The tour included a walkthrough of the President’s office and work area, sleeping quarters, conference room, galley and press cabin.

Among the fortunate ones to go where so few have gone was Lt. Col. Michael Norton, senior logistics officer for the Utah National Guard, who was accompanied by his wife and three of their children. Norton was impressed by what he saw.

“Here is the president of the only superpower on earth, and the furnishings on the plane were not ostentatious at all,“ Norton said. “It wasn’t overdone. Everything in there was necessary for him to fulfill his duties as president.”

First Lady Laura Bush waves to Utah Air and Army National Guard members gathered at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

First Lady Laura Bush waves to Utah Air and Army National Guard

members gathered at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

Norton said that his daughter Michelle noticed a hiking and mountain-biking brochure sitting on the President’s desk. She turned to her dad and said, “Wow, this president is cool!”

Summing up the tour, Norton added, “It’s a humbling feeling to know that regular people can get an opportunity to be where the most powerful man in the world works, and I didn’t have to pay money to do it! It’s a representation of how great this country is.”

As the tour was conducted and the jet was refueled, a group of nearly 100 Airmen and Soldiers gathered in a designated area near the tarmac to await the return of the president in hopes of seeing their commander in chief up close.

Their patience was rewarded when at about 12:25 p.m. the president and first lady returned to the base to prepare to depart for a few days of vacation in Idaho.

Members of the Utah Air National Guard pose with President Bush just before he departs on Air Force One.

Photo by Paul Morse, American Forces Press Service

Members of the Utah Air National Guard pose with

President Bush just before he departs on Air Force One.

When they exited the limousine, the first couple were hailed by the small but enthusiastic group in uniform.

Unhurried, Bush took time to shake hands, pose for pictures, and joke with the crowd. He was also heard telling individual service members as he shook their hands, “Great job! Thank you for serving!”

Bush finished shaking hands first and waited alone on the tarmac while Mrs. Bush completed her goodbyes. When she joined him moments later, they both turned and waved to the crowd, who erupted with cheers and applause. Climbing the stairs to the aircraft, they paused at the top and turned and waved again and received the same response from the crowd as before.

Utah Air and Army National Guard members who met the President and First Lady that day came away very impressed with them and their personable nature.

2nd Lt. Tresa Morris, 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, meets President Bush at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

2nd Lt. Tresa Morris, 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment,

meets President Bush at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

“I thought it was amazing to see them up close and personal. Both of them shook my hand, looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Thank you,’” said 2nd Lt. Tresa Morris, 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, a six-year veteran of the Utah Army National Guard.

“It meant a lot to me. It’s the coolest thing the military has allowed me to do. I’m very proud to be serving. I’ve always liked President Bush and trusted his decisions, and even more so now,” Morris added.

2nd Lt. Wayne Lee, 151st Air Refueling Wing, Utah Air National Guard, had similar sentiments.

“It was awesome. The president is someone I really admire,” Lee said. “He looked me in the eye when he shook my hand. He’s a good man. I have nothing but respect for him.”

 

President Bush greets a member of the Utah Air National Guard as her fellow Airmen use modern technology to take his picture.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

President Bush greets a member of the Utah Air National Guard as her fellow Airmen use modern technology to take his picture.

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, center, Adjutant General of the Utah National Guard, eyes the approaching Air Force One.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, center, Adjutant General of the

Utah National Guard, eyes the approaching Air Force One.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Bush shakes hands with Utah Air Guard members as Secret Service agents maintain the security of the president.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

President Bush shakes hands with Utah Air Guard members as Secret Service agents maintain the security of the president.

Wiilie Hunsaker, President's Volunteer Service Award recipient with his wife as they watch Air force One arrive at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Wiilie Hunsaker, President's Volunteer Service Award recipient with his wife as they watch Air force One arrive at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Lady Laura Bush meets 2nd Lt. Tresa Morris,128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

First Lady Laura Bush meets 2nd Lt. Tresa Morris,

128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Senior Airman Christianna Elieson, 151st Air Refueling Wing, poses with First Lady Laura Bush.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Senior Airman Christiana Elieson, 151st Air

Refueling Wing, poses with First Lady Laura Bush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret Service prepares to move the presidential motorcade into position at Salt Lake Air Base.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

The Secret Service prepares to move the presidential

motorcade into position at Salt Lake Air Base.

Air Force One taxis into position after they exit the presidential limousine Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Air Force One taxis into position after

arriving at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

President George W. Bush smiles to the crowd of Utah Air and Army National Guard members at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., right, and his wife Mary Kaye

just after they exit the presidential limousine Aug. 22.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utah Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, in beret, shakes hands with President Bush and Senator Orrin Hatch Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Utah Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, in beret, shakes hands with President Bush and Senator Orrin Hatch Aug. 22.

The presidential limousine prepares to depart Salt Lake Air Base for downtown Salt Lake City.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

The presidential limousine prepares to depart

Salt Lake Air Base for downtown Salt Lake City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Utah Air National Guard security police officer stands watch as the presidential motorcade stages for the arrival of Air Force One.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

A Utah Air National Guard security police officer stands watch as the presidential motorcade stages for the arrival of Air Force One.

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., awaits the arrival of President Bush at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., awaits the arrival

of President Bush at Salt Lake Air Base Aug. 22.