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Story ID:9978
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Washington D.C. USA
Person:Golda Meir
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
By Fred Wickert

In 1969, I was serving in the U.S. Air Force in my second assignment to Presidential Security. Our job was the security of the Presidential Aircraft Fleet and of all who flew on them. The public is well aware of Air Force One, the plane assigned exclusively for the use of the President, but less aware of the other planes in the fleet. At the time the fleet consisted of approximately forty aircraft. Members of the Congress, U.S. Supreme Court, President’s cabinet members and foreign dignitaries were flown on these planes regularly, and of course Air Force Two, the Vice Presidents assigned air plane.

We in Security protected these aircraft and those who flew on them. In addition to the aircraft themselves, we also protected the restricted area that included the hangars assigned to Presidential aircraft, and all of the offices and shops that were associated with them. The maintenance shop, the radar shop, the sheet metal shop, the paint shop, the Flight Surgeons offices and clinic, the Flight Stewards rooms and kitchen, the ground power shop and equipment and even the Security Police Central Security Control building. We secured all of it 24 hours a day. There were certain aircraft that were guarded by us wherever they may be around the world. Guards flew with the aircraft wherever they went. They were the last to board the plane before departure and the first off the plane after landing. When you see them on TV with the President or some other dignitary going up or down the stairs you will see an Air force Security Policeman standing at the bottom of that stairs.

At that time the Andrews Air Force Base Air terminal was separated from the restricted area of the Presidential fleet by a road or street and a high chain link fence. Normally dignitaries arrived and departed from spot #1 in front of the terminal.

One day in early December of 1969 Israel’s Prime Minister, Golda Meir came to the United States to visit the White House and to visit the United Nations in New York. She arrived on a plane from Israel. When she went to the United Nations she was flown there and back to Washington by a plane from the Presidents fleet.

When Prime Minister Meir came to board the plane to fly to the United Nations she arrived by limo from the White House. There were dignitaries often arriving and departing by limo with business at the White House. When they did there was usually a motorcycle escort of the limo and other cars in the entourage from Washington, D.C. to the Air Terminal at Andrews Air Force Base. As the cars enter the gateway to the parking apron, the motorcycles pull off and wait at the side of the gate until all of the dignitaries board the plane and the plane departs. Then they get on their motorcycles and return to D.C.

One of the regular motorcycle police was unmistakable. When he started to get off that motorcycle it seemed like a long time for him to finish the job. He was a very big man, standing I think around six foot seven. They drove white painted motorcycles with flashing red lights on them. On this cold December day, there was no mistaking him as he escorted Prime Minister Golda Meir and her entourage to the plane waiting on Spot One in front of the terminal.

Golda Meir got out of the car, spoke with and shook hands with a couple of men, and then turned towards the steps of the air plane. She went up about four steps, stopped and turned, looking over at the motorcycle cops. She came back down the steps and walked straight over to the tallest officer. When she walked up to him she demanded to know if he was warm enough and did he have on his long johns. He smiled and assured her that he did. The great lady admonished him that he see to it that he always wore them as his job was to cold without them. He replied with a “yes Ma’am” and a salute. Satisfied she turned and walked back to the airplane, went up the steps and soon the plane was departing for New York. The motorcycle cops returned to Washington.

She was known and admired around the world. She was born in Kiev. Her family migrated to the U.S. where she was raised and educated. She had moved as a young woman to Jerusalem, had a varied and distinguished career, finally becoming the Prime Minister of Israel. She was only the third woman in history to become a Prime Minister, but above all, first and foremost, she was a Jewish Grandmother, worried about a young man being warm enough.

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