President Obama departs Oahu, headed for Australia
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM (HawaiiNewsNow) - Air Force One was fueled up and ready go long before the President's arrival at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The base has seen a whirlwind of activity handling the secure arrivals and departures of APEC's 21 world leaders.
President Obama is the last to go. Several military families lined up early for a special chance to meet the Commander-In-Chief.
At 8:41a.m., his motorcade pulled onto the tarmac. President Obama then got out and walked over to greet the troops nearby. Air Force Lieutenant, Michael Zelinsky of the 17th Operational Weather Squadron was there.
"When he pulled up it was like wow, is this really happening. It's kinda something new something different. Something I never got to do," said Lt. Zelinsky. "It's a tremendous honor to be picked to be able to actually shake hands with the President and say 'hi'. It was a once in a lifetime experience."
The President was sent off by Admiral Robert Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, General Gary North, commander of the Pacific Air Forces, and Colonel Sam Barrett, commander of the 15th Wing.
"He was mentioning his upcoming travel to Australia then to Bali, Indonesia. And we were wishing him all the best in those engagements and he also thanked each of us for our service," said Admiral Willard.
When asked about the success of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the base' related travel operations, General North said, "The Joint Base and all of our men and women and the city and the officials have just done a marvelous job."
General North added that, "Colonel Barrett and his team, they're from the 15th Wing receiving everyone here at the Joint Base, has just done a marvelous job. We're all proud to host it and we're glad it was very successful."
President Obama's first stop in Australia will be the capitol city of Canberra. There, he's expected to address Parliament and commemorate the 60 year military alliance between our two countries. In Darwin, he's expected to announce a stronger U.S. military presence in Australia, then it's off to Bali for a summit with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
But the President won't be gone for long. He and his family will be back for Christmas.
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