Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Helen Thomas - Retirement Bound

I know what some of you are thinking. Who, exactly is Helen Thomas? She is a senior member of the White House Press recently [retired] after making some rather unscrupulous remarks about what the Jews in Israel should do.

Those who already know who she is are probably thinking, good riddance.

I do know this much; Helen Thomas has been in the White House Press since the Kennedy administration. A few years back, I met her personally while on a military related mission. My organization spent a good month flying back and forth between France, England, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and even Amsterdam, Holland in support of the fiftieth anniversary of the Normandy invasion in WWII.

The picture above was taken inside one of our helicopters at Point du Hoc, France, as we prepared for departure and flight across the English Channel and onto England. Yes, that is me sitting next to Helen. I know it's hard to tell since I had all that equipment on.

Unfortunately, the American President honored with residing over the events was former Preside Clinton. I say unfortunate because the actions of that singular President (and her husband) forever tainted me in my opinion of that Presidency.

After nearly a month of grueling schedules, and having to deal with about twenty whiny, immature, White House Press personnel on my aircraft every day, we did not get so much as a simple thank you from our then President. I have worked with other Presidents before and since,  and, I must say, our treatment was much better.

We had another aircraft solely dedicated to carrying the secret service around. I wish I could have transported them as they were much more mature. I must say though, that the other helicopter was much more loaded as they had to take on the special passengers that normally would have flown on the Presidential helicopter so that the First Lady could have her hairdresser on the Presidential flight.

For those of you that don't know, or don't care; here's a bit of history for you. Point du Hoc was one of the major invasion points around the Normandy invasion. As seen in the picture on the left, Rangers had to scale the sheer cliffs while under fire by German emplacements and also under a barrage of friendly fire meant to soften the hardened holds above. The craters seen at the top of the point are what is left over, years later. One can only imagine what those brave souls went through in defense of freedom. By the way, last week marked the sixty-sixth anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

Why do I rant on like this now? I don't know. It just kind of boiled up in me with the recent news of Helen Thomas' actions and subsequent retirement.

On a positive note, I did do much people watching during this month-long event and learned much about the personalities often associated with those in the political news arena, high-level security, and the Presidency.