Tag Archives: Marine One

Always revere the office

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s no secret that I am delighted beyond measure to be rid of Donald Trump and I welcome a new president of the United States.

President Biden has taken a firm grip on the levers of power and for that I am grateful. However, I want to share a brief story that involves in a tangential way the man Biden succeeded as president.

My wife and I vacationed in Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2017. We visited our niece and her husband. We spent several days walking around the city with them, enjoying the sights and sounds of our nation’s capital.

We were strolling through Georgetown when I heard a helicopter flying overhead. I looked up. It was Marine One, the military chopper that carries the president of the United States. Donald Trump had traveled somewhere and was returning at that moment aboard the helicopter to the White House.

I must acknowledge a certain thrill at seeing Marine One passing over us, even as it carried the detestable individual who had moved into the White House earlier that year.

This is my way of expressing my reverence for the presidency. I have expressed already in this forum my love of pageantry, of the pomp and circumstance that accompanies the office and the person who occupies it.

True story, but the thrill at seeing Marine One en route to the White House did not diminish one little bit on that lovely summer day.

This is my way of suggesting that the office is far larger and important than any individual who sits behind that big desk in the Oval Office.

Always good to separate the person from the institution

Maybe I have learned how to “compartmentalize” the way Bill Clinton demonstrated he was able to do during his eight years as president of the United States, from 1993 to 2001.

President Clinton taught us how he was able to set aside his political opponents’ personal loathing for him — and work with them anyway. He was able to put his own personal loathing for individuals into, um, compartments while doing business on behalf of the public.

So it is that form of compartmentalization that I am able to look at the presidency without much regard for the individual who inhabits the office in the moment. Donald Trump is president of the United States. I recently posted a blog item that mentioned how thrilled I was to see the White House with my wife, niece and nephew a couple of years ago. It didn’t matter to me in the moment that Donald Trump is the person who has taken up residence in that magnificent residence.

Later in the day after we stood outside the White House, we happened to see Marine One, the helicopter carrying the president flying overhead. We were in Georgetown at that moment and the chopper was en route to the White House; I don’t remember where the president had been, but he was returning to “my house” where he lives with his wife and youngest son. And, yes, it was a thrill to see the helicopter, too!

My point here is to reiterate that my respect for the presidency and all the trappings of that office are not diminished by the individual who seemingly seeks to sully it. All he does is shame himself.

The office and the institution of the presidency is too damn big even for Donald J. Trump to do permanent damage.

That “compartmentalization” thing comes in handy. Don’t you think?

Osprey takes off with new assignment

That big aircraft assembly plant next to Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport has a new gig.

The MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft being assembled out there is now being assigned to carry key White House personnel as part of the Marine Corps presidential security detail.


Maybe one day, the cutting-edge birds will be hauling the president himself (or herself) to and from the White House.

The Osprey has come a long way from its formative years when Bell Helicopter returned to Amarillo in 1999 thanks to a grant awarded by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. The plane, which lifts off like a helicopter and then flies like a conventional fixed-wing aircraft, has had its fits and starts — and its share of tragedy. It has crashed with Marines aboard, killing 19 of them once on a training mission in Arizona. The Marine Corps and Bell engineers fixed what was wrong with the bird and put it back into the air.

Mechanical difficulties have grounded the Osprey on other occasions. The Pentagon stayed with it, lobbying Congress to keep funding the program.

It’s been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, where it has ferried troops and supplies to and from the battlefield.

Now, according to Politico, the Osprey has been used to fly White House support staff and equipment to Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama has been vacationing with his family.

Any kind of state-of-the-art aircraft is going to have trouble. That’s been the history of U.S. aviation. The Osprey in that context is no different from other aircraft.

The bird that’s being built in Amarillo is earning its wings with an important new mission.

Well done, Bell.