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This Soldier Took A Joy Ride To The White House In A Stolen Helo
When Iraq War veteran Omar Gonzalez jumped the fence of the White House on Sunday, Sept. 19, and rushed the building, the Secret Service reported that he was stopped at the door. But on Monday, the Washington Post revealed that he actually made it well into the East Wing before being overpowered by Secret Service agents.
As brazen as the incident was, raising concerns about White House security, it pales before the spectacle of an Army private landing a stolen helicopter on the White House lawn amid a hail of gunfire over 40 years ago.
A little past midnight on Feb. 17, 1974, Pfc. Robert K. Preston stole an unarmed UH-1 Iroquois, better known as the “Huey,” from Tipton airfield in Fort Meade, Maryland. Twenty-year-old Preston, who had a private fixed-wing pilot’s license, had washed out of the Army’s helicopter pilot school the previous year.
After buzzing drivers on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, he reached the White House and briefly touched down, with the Secret Service initially not firing on him. After he took off from the lawn, the arrival of two Maryland State police choppers led to an aerial chase.
He was “one hell of a pilot,” a Maryland state police later said.
Preston briefly hovered near the Washington Monument, at one point nearly colliding with it while under fire from the state police. He then returned to the White House and hovered 100 meters away on the South Lawn, coming under a fusillade of shotgun and submachine gun fire.
Slightly wounded by buckshot, he set the Huey down and after a short foot chase, was tackled by the Secret Service. President Richard Nixon, who was deeply embroiled in the Watergate scandal, was not in the White House at the time.
At his court martial, Preston admitted stealing the chopper, saying that the Army had unjustly extended his term of enlistment after he had failed flight school.
Despite an escapade that would have any sergeant major suffering a rage-induced stroke, Preston got off relatively light. After serving six months in a military stockade, he was released with a general discharge for unsuitability.
The event is believed to have inspired failed presidential assassin Samuel Byck, who tried to hijack a commercial airliner less than a week later in order to crash it into the White House and kill Nixon.
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.
ROCKFORD — Delta Force sniper Sgt. First Class James P. McMahon's face was so badly battered and cut, "he looked like he was wearing a fright mask" as he stood atop a downed Black Hawk helicopter and pulled free the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.
That's the first description of McMahon in the book by journalist Mark Bowden called "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." It is a detailed account of the horrific Battle of the Black Sea fought in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. It claimed the lives of 18 elite American soldiers.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.