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Cheney cozy in "silver bullet"
by Nedra Pickler
Entered into the database on Thursday, December 22nd, 2005 @ 17:33:24 MST


Untitled Document

ABOARD AIR FORCE TWO — Vice President Dick Cheney didn't suffer for lack of comfort on the cavernous cargo plane that he rode into Iraq and Afghanistan this week.

The Air Force loaded the plane with the "silver bullet," a mobile home in the sky strapped down in the middle of the plane's belly. The accommodations included sleeping and working quarters that protected Cheney from the noise and cold of the cargo hold during a more than five-hour flight into Baghdad.

The rest of his traveling party was not so lucky. Cheney's senior staff and junior aides were assigned to a cramped three rows of seats in front of the bullet, while reporters and Secret Service agents had to sit in jump seats along the side with a view of Cheney's stainless-steel exterior walls.

Cheney used the C-17 cargo plane for security purposes when flying to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. The C-17 is an inconspicuous gray aircraft less likely to draw attention than the normal Air Force II, a blue and white 757 emblazoned "United States of America" in the same style as the president's larger Air Force One.

The 757, with reclining leather seats and a private cabin for Cheney, was used to ferry the vice president back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean and on his trip to Pakistan, his other stop on the four-day tour aimed at building support for the war on terror.

Despite the noise and seating conditions, Cheney's staff eventually was able to nod off after days of exhausting travel. Cheney emerged at one point to pose for a picture standing in front of several rows of his dozing aides.