WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

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D.C. Gigs: Piloting The POTUS Across D.C. And Around The World

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Marine Corps Captain Charlene Thoreen poses in front of a helicopter.
Jennifer Strong
Marine Corps Captain Charlene Thoreen poses in front of a helicopter.

In the latest installment of DC Gigs we meet Marine Corps Captain Charlene Thoreen based in Quantico, Virginia. If you live around here you've probably seen her before, flying overhead in the black and white helicopters used to carry the President. Marines call the helicopters "white tops." The rest of us call them Marine One.

Thoreen says her job is never the same, and that’s part of the appeal. The HMX1 squadron is the largest in the Marine Corps, with about eighty pilots. That’s because they support the President wherever he is in the world, and as Thoreen explains, there is more to that than you might think. For example, HMX has to disassemble the helicopters to transport them overseas, and it takes several days to get them back together again.

[Music: "Working For The Weekend" by The Brown Derbies from We Deliver / "Pick Yourself Up" by Beegie Adair from Dancing In The Dark]

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