Wiesbaden aviators support president's visit to Europe
April 8, 2014
WIESBADEN, Germany (April 8, 2014) -- Need an aerial escort for a high-visibility VIP? Call the 1-214th.
Wiesbaden's 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, provided support to President Barack Obama and his entourage of White House press corps, Secret Service and other support personnel during a visit to Europe March 18-26. The 1-214th sent 26 Soldiers, six UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and five UC-35 jets to escort the presidential party.
It was the battalion's third presidential escort mission. Last year, the 1-214th supported Obama on his trips to Belfast, Ireland, and Israel.
The 1-214th flew with the Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) and the Dutch and Belgian police aircraft, working hand-in-hand with the organizations to successfully accomplish the mission. Company A, led by Capt. Kait Mandelkow, escorted the president in the Netherlands. Company G, led by Maj. Cameron Albert, officer-in-charge, accompanied the president in Brussels.
"The highlight of this trip was undoubtedly the interaction between our company and the White House liaison officers, HMX-1 personnel and the Netherlands Police," said Mandelkow, air mission commander for the Black Hawks' role in the mission. "We ultimately had three separate units flying together, accustomed to their own standard operating procedures, yet as a group we all came together and developed a fantastic working relationship. In the air, we became one cohesive unit, regardless of country or branch."
On March 18, Obama attended the Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague, The Netherlands, where Company A transported him and 40 support staff, between Schiphol International Airport and the Museum District of Amsterdam. On March 26, he addressed the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, regarding Russia's annexation of part of Ukraine. Five Black Hawks escorted the party from Qortrijk Airport to Flanders Field for a World War I memorial service.
The Guardian newspaper reported his trip to Brussels cost the city more than 10 million euros to provide extra security measures, but it caused no issues for the 1-214th.
"We were very familiar with what their expectation was and everything went as planned," said Albert. "We had great coordination with our host nation partners as well as the Marines."
"We hope to get the opportunity to work with them again in the near future," added Mandelkow.
The 1-214th is headquartered at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden and has the largest military aviation footprint in Europe, with 49 aircraft and a presence in four countries