The Corner

The President at Dover


The president arrived at Dover AFB at 12:34am after 40-minute chopper ride from the White House.  An Air Force C-17 carrying the 18 fallen U.S. personnel had arrived at Dover before the president.  Among the dead on board were 7 U.S. Army soldiers and 3 DEA agents killed when their MH-47 Chinook crashed at Darreh-ye-bum, and 8 U.S. soldiers killed when their STRYKER personnel vehicle was struck by IED blast in the Arghandab River Valley. 

It was a somber event.

The military confirmed the name of only one of the soldiers whose transfer the President witnessed: Sgt Dale R. Griffin, from Terre Haute, Indiana, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom.

At one point before the dignified transfers, President Obama spent time on the plane, accompanied by just a military aide, otherwise alone with the eighteen fallen

At 3:39 am the President walked up the ramp of the C-17 to attend a short prayer given by Major Richard S. Bach, an Air Force chaplain. Obama emerged minutes later, the last in a line of personnel, and stood at attention in the cool night breeze, his hands cupped at his side.

At 3:50 am the flag-draped transfer case–not a coffin or casket–was carried from the plane to a waiting vehicle while all those participating saluted.

Griffin’s family gave permission for the media to cover the transfer.