Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: SBAP teamwork © sbap 2014


As everybody had known it through the media press reports, the President of the United States of America Barack Obama was on an European tour with a 24 hours flying visit to Belgium. Although a short visit, it demanded quite a lot of logistics and personnel and preparations started already weeks ahead of the big day on March 26. The planned visit to the Flanders Field American Cemetery at Waregem imposed the American services to bring along two Marine One onto the Belgian soil. The whole helicopter fleet was stationed at the military base of Melsbroek, creating a very US atmosphere over there.

The American security dedicated to President Obama left nothing haphazardly even organizing a general repetition on Friday March 21. Two Sikorsky VH-3D Seaking (Marine One) and five Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk flew to Wevelgem Airport to greatest pleasure of the attending spectators.

Tuesday March 25 awaited the venue of President Obama himself, flying in from Amsterdam. After a last minute runway change, Air Force One landed on runway 07 L(eft) at Brussels Airport at about 21h.30'.

March 26 started with the visit of the American cemetery at Waregem and at 09h.40', the helicopter suit took off from Melsbroek airbase.

Real time broadcast on the Belgian television channels of the visit of President Obama accompanied by King Philippe and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. Let's highlight the emotional President's speech, which reminded us that people are to never forget this dramatic European history page and also to remind us that the bonds between the United States and Belgium are forevermore unwavering.

Back at Melsbroek at about 12h.30' and already President Obama took the road for a working lunch with the European top Emanuel Baroso and Herman van Rompuy concluded at the end of the after-noon with a speech in the center of Brussels in front of some 2000 hand-picked guests.

Back to the Brussels Airport a little behind schedule, President Obama immediately boarded Air Force One, already with running engines. Take off at 19h.35' bound for Rome for the next journey of his European tour.

It was a very intense day for all security services and let's emphasizes all this was done through a top-notch collaboration between the American and Belgian services, the Federal Police and the Air Force.
SBAP joined hands to present you with a page showing this huge enterprise and to offer our readers a very complete overview of the attending machines.

The C-17A ballet at General Aviation side (Maxine Van Molecot) (Maxine Van Molecot)
(Maxine Van Molecot) (Maxine Van Molecot)
(Maxine Van Molecot) March 20th, Melsbroek Air Base side (Joe Fischer)
(Joe Fischer) Arrival of the Marine One helicopters (Joe Fischer)
(Joe Fischer) (Joe Fischer)
(Joe Fischer) (Joe Fischer)
(Joe Fischer) (Joe Fischer)
Marine One convoy, going to be assembled (Joe Fischer)
(Joe Fischer) The Blackhawk fleet already in stand by (Joe Fischer)
March 21st at Kortrijk - Wevelgem for the general repetition (Sven Lodewijckx) (Sven Lodewijckx)
(Sven Lodewijckx) (Sven Lodewijckx)
March 25th, the blackhawk awaiting the President arrival (Marc Arys)
Air Force One as landed via runway 07L at 21:35 local (Gérald Daguin)

Leaving aiport in his limousine (Gérald Daguin)

Mister President Barack Obama (Gérald Daguin)
Boeing C-32A code 80002 (Jo Vanden Broeck) Boeing VC-25 Air Force One code 29000 (Jo Vanden Broeck)
March 26th, early the morning the preparation of the fleet (Marc Arys) All is checked (Marc Arys)
(Marc Arys) Test run up (Marc Arys)
The two VH-3D Seaking Marine One test run up (Christian De Brabanter) (Christian De Brabanter)

 The visit was also supported by the Belgian Air Force and Federal Police
(Marc Arys)

(Marc Arys)
(Marc Arys)
Arrival of the President at Melsbroek (Marc Arys) Embarcation (Marc Arys)
Clear for take off, Brussels National trafic was frozen (Marc Arys) (Marc Arys)
Take off heading Wevelgem (Christian De Brabanter) (Christian De Brabanter)
(Christian De Brabanter) (Christian De Brabanter)
(Christian De Brabanter) The armed escort (Christian De Brabanter)
Back from the Flanders Field American Cimetary (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Marc Arys) (Marc Arys)
(Marc Arys) (Marc Arys)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Marc Arys)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Marc Arys)
Mission accomplished (Marc Arys) (Marc Arys)
(Marc Arys) The Belgian A109 also armed (Marc Arys)
19:35 local time, take off to Roma, the next stop
 (Serge Van Heertum)
President Obama and Air Force One will be back in June for the G7
(Serge Van Heertum)

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