Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's Up With the PAG?

Just a short note because once again I am amazed at how self-centered the PAG is...

A couple days ago, the people of New York City were once again witness to low flying aircraft and memories of 9/11 ran swiftly through their minds. The aircraft in question was one of the 747s flown by the Presidential Airlift Group out of Andrews AFB. As a side note, the aircraft was not "Air Force One" since the President was not on board. Of course the people of New York City did not know that. What they did know was the President's aircraft was flying very low around the buildings of Manhattan and being "chased" by a fighter aircraft.

Whether or not the flight was cleared at the right levels and if mistakes were made in letting the right people know is something that will come out during the investigation. Because, of course, there is going to be an investigation.

What amazes me is the purpose for the flight. Souvenir photos for friends and family of the PAG. Souvenir photos. Though knowing the PAG, the plan was probably to sell them in their souvenir shop as well. So, in order to have "updated" or "current" photos of the 747 flying over national monuments, thousands of people were affected. And why did they really need updated photos? Has the 747, which has been in use as Air Force One since 1990, changed in the last few years? Have the monuments themselves changed?

Did no one stop to think about how a low-flying "passenger" aircraft being "chased" by fighters would affect New Yorkers? A second photo-op scheduled for Washington DC has been cancelled. Why not start in DC? After all, that's essentially the home of the PAG and the President. Plus, they could have seen how it was handled without freaking out New York's survivors of 9/11. Granted, there are survivors of 9/11 at the Pentagon and Washington DC as well, but it might not have been such a blatant reminder...who knows how it would have gone down had they done it in DC first. I just find it interesting that they chose NYC.

Bottom line, I think it was self-centered of the PAG to think only of themselves and not how a low-level flyover in close proximity to Ground Zero would possibly affect others. I know I shouldn't view the whole group based on my impressions of the PAG members I have known and worked with, but I also haven't seen anything to prove me wrong. This instance just re-enforced those impressions.

1 comment:

  1. During my years in the AF, it seemed common to see photos of the presidential aircraft in flight over notable skylines or backdrops such as the Statue of Liberty, Mt Rushmore, or the Grand Canyon. Stylistically, the photos would today seem dated. A photo over Manhattan showing the Twin Towers would certainly be dated.

    While the communication process could have been much better and wider in scope, I think the sensitivity over 9/11 is ridiculous. As traumatic as it was that day, life goes on and people need to get over it.

    I live and work in a city that had a suspected target post-9/11. It is natural to look up when an aircraft comes in a little lower or louder than usual, but to react as New Yorkers did---can't see it.

    Nice that Obama sorta apologized, but Americans have become too wimpy in my opinion, jumping at shadows. It's the same mentality that today has people asking the government to close the border with Mexico. Give it time and a few more deaths or illnesses and people will be calling for mass deportation of illegals for fear they are spreading the flu.