Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits RAF Fairford

On a very damp Monday afternoon in October SAM 606 touched down on Runway 27 at Royal Air Force Fairford carrying The Honourable David L. Norquist, the Deputy Secretary of Defense for the United States of America.  He was on a whistle-stop tour of the base to familiarise himself with the strategic importance of RAF Fairford, as well as the continuing Bomber Task Forces which we documented in September and November 2019. Additionally, he was to learn about the ongoing presence of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron and their Lockheed U-2S Dragon Lady’s.

SAM 606 was a Boeing C-32A, serial number 99-0003 and operated by the 1st Airlift Squadron, 89th Airlift Wing, 89th Operations Group which is based at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. The C-32A is based on the Boeing 757-200 and its primary customers are the vice president, the first lady and members of the Cabinet and Congress.

The aircraft is liveried in the distinctive blue and white that its big brothers the VC-25s wear and goes by the callsign ‘Air Force Two’ when carrying the vice president. The C-32A can carry just 45 passengers and has an extensive communications suite and defensive counter measures. Depending on the mission the aircraft can have a crew of up to 16 and has a range of 5,500 nautical miles unrefuelled.
Flying the short hop from Aberdeen Dyce International Airport in Scotland, the C-32A was on the ground for less than three and half hours before departing to London Stansted Airport

Norquist, the 34th Deputy Secretary of Defense, has been in office since the 31st July 2019, previously being interim Deputy Secretary of Defense for a period before this following a reshuffle after the resignation of Patrick M. Shanahan. Previously he’d held roles within the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command as Director of Resource Management and as a budget analyst within the US Army GS-9 Program. In 2006 he was selected by President George W. Bush to be Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.

South West Aviation Photographers would like to thank all at the 501st Combat Support Wing, USAF for making this article possible.

Report by Matt Sudol and Gary Morris additional images as credited

© South West Aviation Photographers 2020