Air operations center arrives in Europe ahead of Bush
June 10, 2008
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Signs of President Bush’s tour through Europe this week could be seen Monday with a National Airborne Operations Center 747 parked on the flight line here.
Though base officials would not confirm or deny the plane was associated with the president’s visit, the aircraft "provides presidential support," said Master Sgt. Charles Tubbs, base spokesman.
The aircraft serves as an emergency center for the president, secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the Air Force Web site. In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command control centers, the aircraft provides a "highly survivable, command, control and communications center to direct U.S. forces, execute emergency war orders and coordinate actions by civil authorities," the Web site states.
Bush was scheduled to arrive in Slovenia Tuesday for his last European Union summit. His schedule includes stops in Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom during the weeklong tour.
Jets from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, and the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, will be policing the air over Slovenia during the conference, and KC-135s from RAF Mildenhall will also be on hand to refuel the aircraft during the mission, according to Maj. David Honchul, 3rd Air Force spokesman.
U.S. Air Forces Europe also has personnel in Slovenia to support Air Force One with maintenance, refueling and other services, though the planes supporting the air mission will not be landing in Slovenia, Honchul said.