Unfortunate changes in weather caused a number of problems during President Donald Trump’s much-discussed trip to Asia.
First, a trip to the DMZ had to be scrapped due to a heavy fog that made navigation impossible. The president, not thrilled by the change in plans, stayed in the car on the Tarmac for an hour in the hopes that the fog would lift — but the trip ultimately had to be abandoned.
Trump was aboard Marine One en route to the DMZ but was grounded after about 18 minutes of flight.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in was scheduled to join Trump at the DMZ in a show of unity, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning. The joint visit would have been the first for a US and South Korean President at the DMZ, Sanders said, calling it a “historic moment.”
“The effort shows the strong and importance of the alliance between the two countries,” Sanders said. …
A heavy fog limited visibility in the air, with helicopter pilots losing visibility of the other helicopters in the President’s airborne motorcade, Sanders said. The President and his entourage waited for nearly an hour on the ground in hopes the weather would improve, but were not able to make a second attempt.
But the weather took its toll on White House press secretary Sarah Sanders as well. While waiting to see if a second attempt at the DMZ trip was possible, the president’s entourage made a stop in Seoul, South Korea, visiting U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan:
@PressSec, in borrowed jacket, briefs press pool while waiting to see if second DMZ try was possible pic.twitter.com/qMnTxzvqSA
— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) November 8, 2017
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to reporters after presidential helicopters returned US President Donald Trump to US Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, South Korea on November 8, 2017, due to bad weather just before they arrived for a vist to the DMZ. pic.twitter.com/I3cWO2TV7o
— Jim Watson (@JimWatson_AFP) November 8, 2017
Sanders appeared in a camouflage field jacket that clearly belonged to one of the soldiers stationed there. The patch on the left shoulder identified him as a member of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, which is headquartered in Seoul.
The soldier was later identified by the Daily Mail as Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Zizelman, who is also a helicopter test pilot:
Katelyn Radack, a public affairs officer with the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, said Friday that Zizelman has been in the Army for 11 years, beginning as an ’11B’ infantryman in the 3rd Ranger Regiment and now serving as an aviator – a role he’s had since 2011.
Lt. Colonel Junel Jeffrey, a spokeswoman for the 2nd Infantry Division, said Zizelman’s job is to fly Chinook helicopters on maintenance test missions for the General Support Aviation Battalion, part of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment.
Zizelman, who was on-hand to certify the safety of the choppers scheduled to ferry Trump and his team to the Korean DMZ, stepped in on Wednesday when he saw the jacketless Sanders shivering in tarmac winds with temperatures in the 40s.