So you may have heard on the radio last week that I was lucky enough to get an invite to meet President Obama last week as he stepped off Air Force One. Obviously people have been asking all sorts of questions about the experience, which was honestly very surreal. I don’t get starstruck all that often, but this time I was genuinely saying “Did that seriously just happen?” for the rest of the night. The HARDEST part was not saying anything to my friends and family about it until I was already on my way to Hill Air Force Base.
The question everyone asks first is “How did YOU get invited?” I’ll pretend that I’m not insulted by the emphasis 🙂
Unfortunately, I can’t really give an answer to that other than “I have a friend.” I know it sounds all corny and cliché, but the person who invited me said something to the nature of “Dude SHHHH!” Seriously though, I’ve done lots of work with The Army in the past, and an old “battle buddy” reached out with an invite. Cool, right?
He looks like this.
So Thursday afternoon we were told to be at the meeting spot in front of Hill AFB by 3pm. We found out while we were on our way there that thanks to Iran the landing would be delayed. Pfft. Stupid Iran. So we went home for a few hours and then we were on our way. I should not complain since most of the media were stuck outside in the cold sine 11am. We didn’t even have to wait outside. From the parking lot, we were shuttled to an Airplane hangar where we waited for about an hour.
I was pretty excited 🙂
From there we were shuttled to the tarmac where the President would be exiting Air Force One. The weather was shockingly cold. It was ACTUALLY snowing on us for a few minutes. Security was tight, but not overwhelming. Some members of the White House Military Office were patting us down and using the metal detecting wand before going past a checkpoint. They were all really friendly, and since most of the people passing through were in the Military, fairly laid back. I watched as one poor Airman was asked to stand on one foot and clap his hands before the person giving the instructions said “April Fools”. That’s good stuff. From there, we were on the runway!
Those two guys got a little closer than I did.
Contrary to what you see on TV, it’s not the Secret Service doing all the work for a President’s visit. The Secret Service guys were there, but much of the work is being done by the White House Military Office. Also known as The President’s 100. They handle arrival and departure, as well as setting up communications, food, and much of the logistics and security. The WHO is made up of various members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. You usually won’t notice them, as they don’t wear traditional Military uniforms. They wear suits! BAD ASS SUITS.
These guys don’t wear suits. They had high powered rifles, ready to snap your face off.
It looks bigger in person. Duh.
So the cool thing about this was that meeting a sitting U.S. President is something that has been on my Bucket List for as long as I can remember. And even though I am a Right Wing Republican that did not vote for Barack Obama, I’ve never liked it when people shit-talk the President. He’s the President of The United States and should get some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Admit it, you totally just sang that.
The other cool thing is that I was able to bring my wife and kid along. We were told beforehand that he would be getting right into the car at the bottom of the stairs, so not to expect to actually MEET him. But still really cool to be that close to the whole thing. But I got a phone call from my friend saying “dude, he’s going to shake hands, stay close to that fence.” Good to know. Little Scarlett is 10 months old and was handling this thing like a CHAMP. She was laughing and waving, all smiles. UNTIL Obama got to the bottom of the stairs and flash pics started going off. Then she started crying and doing baby stuff.
Looking good so far!
Here’s comes the POTUS!
And cry! Plus.. He looks a little weird there.
The good news about that is that even though my wife was mortified with the fact that the baby was fussing in front of the President, he noticed right away the guy holding the crying baby. So he came over, shook my hand and asked how I was doing. He then said “Aww no! Who’s this!?? And gave little Scarlett a head squeeze.
A screen shot from my TV. See!? That’s her head dude!
Unfortunately, we had to put cameras down when he was in front of us for security reasons. But my wife was able to snap this one while he was talking to us.
He’s saying “Listen to Jon’s Show”
I’ll say this, he was SUPER nice. A lot nicer than he had to be. He took time to shake everyone’s hand, and say hello to each person in the pen individually. A super cool experience.
So I’ll say thanks to the White House Military Office, The US Secret Service, The United States Air Force, The U.S. Army, Hill Air Force Base, and my friend who knows who he is.
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