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The Marine One Convoy; Rotterdam-Zestienhoven, March 25, 2014

President Barack Obama Visits the NSS; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

The American president Barack Obama was present at the negotiations during the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS2014). Two VH-60N Whitehawk helicopters were flown to Rotterdam Airport to fly the president around in the Netherlands. These helicopters were supported by six UH-60 Blackhawks utility helicopters.

On March 24 and 25, 2014, the International Conference the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS2014) was held at the World Forum in The Hague. More than 58 world leaders were present to agree on the prevention of nuclear terrorism. The negotiators of the government of the participating countries had already composed a draft agreement which would be discussed by the leaders of the countries. In addition to the NSS, a meeting was organized by the G7 countries in The Hague. Only the Russian government was not welcome at this meeting this time due to the escalation in the Crimea in Ukraine. Schiphol airport was during the NSS the location where all the leaders would arrive. Most of the world leaders arrived at the weekend before the summit. The planes of the leaders were all parked on the Polderbaan at Schiphol to prevent distortion of the regular traffic at Schiphol. The entire western part of the Netherlands was during the summit heavily protected by the Dutch police and defense forces. There were several anti-aircraft batteries active around Schiphol airport to defend the airport against any attack. During the summit there were 24 hours a day two fully armed F-16s of the air force in the air on patrol to protect the Randstad. In the North Sea continuous patrols were carried out by frigates of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The Dutch territory was during the summit the best protected area in the world.

In preparation for the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague, the American presidential fleet was flown to the Netherlands. There are many transport flights needed to fly the equipment and personnel to a country for a visit of the American President. The basic equipment which is needed for the reception of President Obama was flown to Schiphol Airport in the week before the NSS was started by several C-17s from the March Air Force Reserves and the Stewart Air National Guard. The cargo consisted mainly of presidential staff and security personnel and the limousines of the president. The limousine of the American president is known as "The Beast" and is a

heavily armored luxury limousine. In preparation of the summit also two VH-60N White Hawks were flown to Rotterdam Airport by the C-17s from Charleston Air Force Base. These presidential helicopters are assigned to HMX-1 of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and will fly the president to the various locations which will be visited during the NSS. Rotterdam Airport was the assigned airfield for these American helicopters during the NSS. The two White Hawks were during the NSS supported by six UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the German Army airbase of Wiesbaden. These Blackhawks are of the 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment (1-214 AVN). The helicopters flew from Germany via Geilenkirchen to Rotterdam Airport. These helicop- ters will transport security personnel which will fly along with Obama during the NSS. Also a Dutch AW-139 of the National Police will fly along with the American convoy.

The American pilots don’t know the Dutch airspace good enough to adapt to the Dutch airspace regulations, procedures and routes. Therefore the AW-139 of the Dutch police will guide the Americans to their landing area; the president is therefore able to fly safe to its destination. On Thursday, March 20, the Dutch airspace was explored by the American pilots. A formation of nine helicopters left Rotterdam Airport. The formation consisted of two VH-60 White Hawks, six UH-60 Blackhawks and one AW-139 of the National Police Agency. The scenario with the president on board during the NSS was trained during this flight. This test flight was used to qualify the two VH-60 helicopters which arrived by C-17 the day before; the helicopters were tested to detect any technical malfunctions. The helicopters made a formation flight over the western and the southern part of the Netherlands to explore the area. In addition to the extensive American security in the helicopter convoy there are also Dutch Apache helicopters standby to secure the formation even more if needed. The Dutch Defense Helicopter Command (DHC) has a number of helicopters deployed at the former Naval Air Station Valkenburg. In total there are six Apaches, four Cougars and four Chinooks standby at Valkenburg. On Saturday, March 22, there was a training flight planned for the helicopter formation. This flight was canceled due to bad weather at that time.

On Monday, February 24, at 10 am, Air Force One arrived at Schiphol with on board the American president Barack Obama. The aircraft of the American president is of the type VC-25 and is a modified Boeing 747 which has specially been designed as a flying command center for the president. The VC-25 is part of the presidential fleet which is assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland in the United States. There are a total of two aircraft of type VC-25 in service within the USAF. The aircraft is escorted by two or four fully armed escort fighters during a trans-Atlantic flight. The escort fighters are usually of the type F-15C Eagle of the USAF. After his landing at Schiphol, Obama was driven with his limousine “the Beast” to The Hague. Obama would visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam during his visit in the Netherlands after his arrival at the Dutch government in The Hague. For this unique visit to the Dutch capital, the helicopter fleet was used to transport the president. The helicopters departed from Rotterdam and would land at the Museum Square in the center of Amsterdam. The square is in front of the museum and was for Obama completely equipped as a highly secured landing zone. The square was for security barricaded with white containers which were stacked to avoid a possible attack from one of the high buildings on the square. After the visit of the American president to the museum, he left again by helicopter towards The Hague. The tasks of the helicopter fleet were completed after this flight. The helicopters were flown back to the United States on Wednesday, March 26.




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