On Jan. 29, the president landed at Pittsburgh's 171st Refueling Wing en route to a photo op at U.S. Steel's Irvin Works in West Mifflin to announce his newest initiative. He arrived from Washington via his private 747 accompanied by fighter jets, a transport plane containing two limousines, various Secret Service vehicles, equipment, etc.
He traveled to the Allegheny County Airport near the plant and back to the 171st via Marine One, escorted by a Sikorsky helicopter and three Osprey aircraft. From the county airport, he was whisked to and from the plant by a contingent of local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Secret Service and Homeland Security. After a signing ceremony, speech and tour he was on his way with his entourage back to the 171st and on to another destination.
No accounting of the cost of his visit has been offered, but I would venture it would exceed the total of all the income tax that I, my parents, my grandparents and all my friends and their families have paid in their lifetimes. Personally, I would have liked to have kept my share of that money for my own purposes.
I believe a big-screen TV with the message delivered via Skype would have sufficed. Just think how much his “carbon footprint” could have been reduced, something I know he is greatly concerned for all of us to work on, if only he would have been aware that there was actually an alternative to this cumbersome trip.
Clifford J. Warner
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