MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) -- President George W. Bush thanked the divers of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 on Aug. 21 for their hard work during search and recovery operations at the site of the Interstate 35 bridge collapse here.
President Bush arrived at the 934th Air Reserve Base aboard Air Force One. Following a briefing on the search and recovery operations with state and federal officials, Bush was escorted to a hangar bay where he met with the divers. He shook hands with each diver, thanking them for their efforts and service.
"Thank you also for your prayers and the compassion you've shown to the families (these past few weeks)," President Bush told the divers.
President Bush also posed for a group photo, holding a dive helmet that his father, former President George H. W. Bush also held in a group photo with another MDSU detachment in 1992. Bush then gave each of the divers a presidential challenge coin before departing, followed by a hearty "Hoo-Yah America!" from the group.
"It was such an awesome feeling meeting the president," said Navy Diver 1st Class (DSW/SW) Joshua Harsh. "I was shocked at first, but he was very personable and down to earth. It was a great honor to meet him."
MDSU-2, based at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., has been in Minneapolis since Aug. 6, as part of a larger Department of Defense effort supporting search and recovery efforts at the request of the U.S. Department of Transportation and in support of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.
For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/necc/.