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article imageWhite House Aide Resigns Over Air Force One New York Flyover

By M Dee Dubroff     May 9, 2009 in Politics
A top White House aide, Luis Caldera, has resigned in the wake of the Presidential aircraft's recent flyover above New York City. He has publicly stated that the incident tainted his effectiveness as a military leader. Read on for more details.
Many New Yorkers experienced a fear not seen since September of 2001 when a huge passenger jet and an F-16 fighter plane flew past the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan a few weeks ago. Workers unable to concentrate on their duties dashed into the busy streets and watched in horror as the two planes circled dangerously low. It was no doubt a miracle that a full-scale panic did not ensue.
According to news sources, president Obama declared the incident a mistake and promised that it would never happen again. For Luis Caldera, a former Army secretary who headed the office that coordinates presidential travel on Air Force jets, however, the damage was done. He told the press that the controversial incident made it impossible for him to serve as the leader of the White House Military Office. His resignation letter to the president stated:
“Moreover, it has become a distraction in the important work you are doing as president.”
Mr. Caldera's office had approved the flyover, which was intended to update the official photo of the plane known as Air Force One when the president is aboard. The operation cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts. The cost to taxpayers was an estimated $328,835. The White House released a photo of the blue-and-white plane high above the Statue of Liberty, with New Jersey in the background.
Caldera’s resignation takes effect on May 22, but he is done at the White House Military Office now and says he will use the remaining two weeks of his employment to complete the necessary steps to leave the White House.
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