President George H.W. Bush & a Letter Of Appreciation

George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- One week was all I had on the ground at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage Alaska in 1989 as the new Operation Officer (civilian equivalent Deputy Chief of Police) of the Security Police (cops) Squadron when this happened. On my sixth day in the great white north a US Secret Service agent walked into my office with a very large request for support.

The Emperor of Japan had died and President George H.W. Bush was going to fly to Japan for the funeral.

Back in those days Air Force One, the jet the President flew on was a Boeing 707 and it could not fly from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, Japan without stopping en route to refuel. Anchorage was the stopping off point for lots of aircraft on the journey to the Pacific. There was exactly one US Secret Service agent stationed in Alaska in 1989 and his primary job was combating counterfeit money and credit card fraud, so he really needed the help of the Air Force cops on Elmendorf AFB.

I was so new, I had not even driven around the base to see what it looked like. My problem was the one star general who was the Chief of Police for the Air Force was not happy with the performance of the cop squadron at Elmendorf. That was the reason I have just been sent to Anchorage.

The Chief of Police on Elmendorf was not a career cop, he was a navigator who did not have a plane to crew so they made him the top policeman on Elmendorf. The cop squadron was full of senior people who had been in Alaska way too long and thought hunting and fishing was the primary mission, and protecting the base came second.

The issue was the Emperor died on a weekend and on Friday afternoons at Elmendorf the senior leadership of the cops and the rest of the base went bowling. Not to be bothered until Monday. It was amazing in that I could not find anyone to help me figure out how to set up a plan of action to meet the needs of the Secret Service.

There was one exception, that was Staff Sergeant Sam Treat who walked up to me, told me he had a vehicle ready to drive me around the base and was prepared to help me put a plan together. So over the course of the weekend SSgt. Treat and I developed a strategy which was a good thing because on Monday, a senior White House Secret Service agent was waiting for me when I got to work that morning.

President Bush’s stopover in Air Force One, both going out to Japan and returning stateside a few days later went off without a security hitch. The senior agent handed out some White House trinkets to a few people, but for me it was the letter I got in the mail a couple of weeks later.

I received a Presidential letter of appreciation from President George H.W. Bush and as far as I can determine I was the only one on Elmendorf AFB who got a letter for supporting the President’s visit.

 

George H.W. Bush is the last President this country has had who was a combat veteran
George H.W. Bush is the last President this country has had who was a combat veteran

Truth of the matter is, it should not of had any real impact on my career, but it just so happened I was up for promotion to Major that year. It also happened that in 1989 the Air Force was trying out a brand new promotion process and to really insure you got promoted you needed a recommendation of “definitely promote”.

 

That Presidential letter of appreciation was sitting on the top of my personnel file when the promotion board met. I was the only non-pilot to be selected for Major (with a definitely promote) on my base that year.

I would suggest, cause and effect was a player in my professional life. I had directed security for the President as he stopped at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, on his way to the funeral of Emperor Hirohito in Japan. I still believe that Hirohito should have been executed at the end of the war, but his belated death help me get promoted and enabled me to finish a military career with a retirement. You see if you do not make Major you do not get to stay until retirement (cause and effect.)

I have been retired from the Air Force for over twenty years and there is very little Air Force “I love me” stuff hanging on the walls in our civilian home, with one exception.

The Presidential letter of appreciation signed by President Bush (the elder) with a picture of me standing next to the President’s vehicle is framed and hanging in my home.

George H.W. Bush is the last President this country has had who was a combat veteran.

He was shot down in the Pacific and was the only member of his aircrew to survive the crash. If he had not been picked up by a US Navy sub he would have drifted onto a Japanese held island. On that island they actually killed and ate parts of American flyers who sadly had washed up on the shore. President and Navy combat veteran George H.W. Bush has died. He is owed a lot, to include my thanks to him.

I owe my thanks to Staff Sgt. Sam Treat for stepping up and helping his President and in the process making me look good back in 1989. Of course I would like to thank President Bush for the letter, it made a major difference in my life. I am only sorry he could not have signed my retirement paperwork instead of his replacement.

Alaska being the last frontier has some very interesting laws about who can perform a wedding. I wound up being the marriage commissioner who conducted the marriage ceremony for Sam Treat and his bride Chris a couple of years later in Alaska. They are now retired senior Air Force NCOs and I thank both of them for their help and support during my tour in Alaska.

The former President is gone and to his family I am so sorry for your loss.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
[email protected]


Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:

Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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Wayne
Wayne
2 years ago

I love how you gun-lovin, narrow minded cretans throw terms like “ globalist” “ leftist” and “Con- servatives” around as if those terms are “ swear words and you gents are pious protectors of some special religious order. Too bad the only freedom you fellows care about is the Second amendment. Too bad it’s actually 5th amendment that actually keeps you fellows out of prison. Shameful and ignorant misunderstanding of how a Constitutional democracy is supposed to work. Please keep your guns and your narrow minded rants to yourselves. Better yet form your own government and create your own set… Read more »

Ron
Ron
2 years ago

Author: Nathan De Lon Comment: I am a ‘Nam era Army veteran and I say F**k the Bush’s.When the old man ran the Christians In Action,he was smuggling heroin into the U.S. in the body bags of dead military personnel.THAT to me is the ultimate disrespect. He was also involved with the JFK assasination.His punk ass son was part of the 911 Twin Towers and Pent- agon tragedies and his wife was driving drunk and killed a female college student with no repercussions,except maybe a guilty conscience.F**K ‘EM ALL!!! I totally agree Nathan……But there are ‘those ‘ here who just… Read more »

Nathan De Lon
Nathan De Lon
2 years ago

I am a ‘Nam era Army veteran and I say F**k the Bush’s.When the old man ran the Christians In Action,he was
smuggling heroin into the U.S. in the body bags of dead military personnel.THAT to me is the ultimate disrespect.
He was also involved with the JFK assasination.His punk ass son was part of the 911 Twin Towers and Pent-
agon tragedies and his wife was driving drunk and killed a female college student with no repercussions,except
maybe a guilty conscience.F**K ‘EM ALL!!!

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
2 years ago
Reply to  Nathan De Lon

Nathan De Lon

Thankfully he can do no more harm to the nation or it’s people,we need No More Bushes Ever.

Ron
Ron
2 years ago

Author: Green Mtn. Boy Comment: “Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and the other CON-servatives and Leftist’s all talking about what a great American Bush was and thinking about where his statue should be erected” I’m sure there is need of a public urination post somewhere in the District of Corruption,they will find a spot for it. Gotta agree. Those ‘talking heads’ say some things that do ‘resonate’ with a lot of people. Feel good stuff,ya know? They gotta be right? Huh? Sounds good till ya look into it all. (around 1988) I used to listen to Rush.(a lot!) But… Read more »

Roy D.
Roy D.
2 years ago

I was on the flight line thirty years prior to you being there. Of course I was only four years old. My father was a Senior Master Sergeant and took me to work three times that I can remember. That is where I fell in love with the delta wing birds: F-102, F-106, and B-58. As far as Bush, he was not a friend to the 2nd Amendment. As far as the rest, I may not cast any stones.

Scotty Gunn
Scotty Gunn
2 years ago

Assault weapons ban. High cap magazine ban. “New World Order”. Globalist.
He was a veteran, so thank you Mr. Bush for your service. Other than that, won’t miss him.

Capndad
Capndad
2 years ago

Yeah I don’t miss the globalist and anti second amendment Bush. I could have done without this article.

Larry Brickey
Larry Brickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Capndad

Yet you read it.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
2 years ago
Reply to  Larry Brickey

Larry, he means in retrospect he could have done without the article. What is your point, anyway, Larry?

Larry Brickey
Larry Brickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

Well, I misunderstood. My point was if you know you don’t like a subject, leave it be.

Ralph W Glorioso
Ralph W Glorioso
2 years ago

I admire greatly the service and patriotism of President Bush 41. I will never forget the short video clip of him being pulled from a rubber boat onto the deck of the rescuing submarine after his plane was shot down off Chichi Jima Island. He and his lovely and gracious wife, Barbara, were always standard-setters in human and political decency. I was not happy with President Bush politically, either for his gun control stance or his disinterest (shared with other subsequent presidents–but not President Trump) to ignore our border security. Overall, President Bush 41 was a great American patriot and… Read more »

Clark Kent
Clark Kent
2 years ago

Overall, President Bush was ANYTHING but a great American Patriot. Grow up, jarhead.

Goat
Goat
2 years ago

NEOCONLAND

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
2 years ago

President Bush easily keep more arms from the hands of more American citizens than that of Barak insane Obummer,then again remind me why we should celebrate his passing.

Ron
Ron
2 years ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

Ditto again. GMB

Dan the Man
Dan the Man
2 years ago

This is the President George Bush I remember so well: ” Read my lips, no new taxes.” Also during the 1988 presidential campaign against anti-gun Michael Dukakis: “Read my lips, no new gun laws.” Then after one month in office, he used the power of the presidency to stop all imports of “assault weapons” and held the ban until Congress could catch up with a law two months later WHICH IS STILL IN FORCE TODAY. I remember SHOT Show 1989 very well and the dark cloud which hung over the firearms industry. But the NRA kept Bush as an esteemed… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan the Man

“Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and the other CON-servatives and Leftist’s all talking about what a great American Bush was and thinking about where his statue should be erected”

I’m sure there is need of a public urination post somewhere in the District of Corruption,they will find a spot for it.

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
2 years ago

Well Bye !

KAG
KAG
2 years ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy