Don Brown will take you inside the life and reality of becoming part of the 89thAirlift Wing that is based at Andrews, AFB. The outfit had been around for many years, starting as the 1254thTroop Carrier Squadron (1948 – 1966). The VC-137’s were controlled from the Vice-Chief of Staff of the Air Force Office, and were directly controlled by White House request.
Being a pilot for the White House staff seems like it would be exciting and the highlight of a pilot’s career, and it is, but there is much more involved than flying. Learn what it takes to be selected to serve with the organization. You’re on call unless on leave. Immediate response of one hour if assigned alert duty (usually once or twice a week). Short notice like sudden decision of Rosalynn Carter to go to Cambodia. Extensive briefings for any planned trip from security and crew coordination for hotels, food, guard vehicles, diplomatic clearances and visas, etc.
At Squadron level the pilots carried the Vice-President, Cabinet, Congress, First Family, and visiting foreign dignitaries. Endless baggage checks, hotel sweeps, being observant were a part of life. A lot changed after “Squeaky” Fromm attempted assassination of Ford, and we learned to watch how people in a country treated their fellow countrymen. Don was honored with the responsibility of flying many prominent notables such as Walter Mondale, Bush 41, Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, Secretary of Defense, Harold Brown, and First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
Don Brown has forty-six years of aviation experience, both military and civilian aircraft. He is a former Pilot for Astar Air Cargo, served as Captain on three different aircrafts operating internationally. He was an air transport instructor as Second Officer on a large aircraft in international operations. He is a former pilot for Tempelhof Air, and a FAA Designated Company Instructor responsible for training, monitoring, and evaluating Captains and First Officers. He also flew for Air Ambulance Service and support for heart transplant teams of the Berlin Free State Hospital throughout Eastern and Western Europe. He is a former pilot for the United States Air Force. He has also served as a Safety Program Manager and platform Instructor for International Operations and Flight Examiner in Boeing 707 operations for the White House at Andrews AFB, Maryland. Don also served as Military Aide for Reagan White House Transition Team for the incoming Domestic Affairs Advisor. Don has also been fortunate enough to have landed an airplane on every continent.
Currently, Don volunteers at the National Museum of the United States Air Force which serves over 1 million guests each year. He also serves as one of the “Keepers of their Stories” for the individuals in aviation history that have served to make the United States a leader in the world