Top world military leaders meet in Lake Placid
LAKE PLACID — Some of the most powerful military commanders in the world met in Lake Placid over the weekend.
Speculation was rife after a C-32, the military equivalent to a Boeing 757 airliner, touched down Friday at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear.
The 155-foot-long jumbo jet, which is used as Air Force 2 when the vice president is aboard, was emblazoned with “United States of America” on the side and parked on the eastern edge of the airport.
“I was contacted by the Department of Defense approximately a month ago, and they indicated they had some foreign dignitaries that they wanted to bring in through the airport,” said Ross Dubarry, the airport’s manager.
Following the landing, a motorcade led by State Police rushed Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and top military commanders from four nations — Britain, France, Germany and Italy — to a resort in Lake Placid.
The motorcade returned Sunday afternoon, and the C-32 and an Italian military jet departed.
Defense Department officials wouldn’t comment this weekend, but the day after the planes had left, Capt. John Kirby, a special assistant to Mullen, confirmed that the top military leaders from five countries met in Lake Placid to discuss mutual security issues, including Afghanistan.
“I’m not at liberty to go into the details that was discussed, but they went through a wide range of security issues that are common to all five nations,” Kirby said.
“They discussed, in broad terms, progress in Afghanistan and where we’re heading with regard to Afghanistan, particularly the NATO mission there. And they discussed other mutual issues of security concerns.”
Security was tight at the Whiteface Lodge and Resort — the site where the military leaders were rumored to have stayed, though the resort would not confirm that.
Kirby confirmed that Sir Graham Stirrup of Britain’s Royal Air Force, German Army Gen. Wolfgang Schneiderhan, French Army Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin and Italian Air Force Gen. Vincenzo Camporini took part in the two-day meetings.
He said the meeting is an annual event that is rotated amongst the countries.
The U.S. military picked Lake Placid because while it’s relatively close to Washington, D.C., it’s still fairly tranquil, Kirby said.
“They try to choose sites that are relatively quiet that allow these leaders to focus on the issues and not be distracted by other things.”
Harrietstown Supervisor Larry Miller, whose town owns and operates the airport, said the airport was contacted about a month ago about whether it could handle large aircraft and foreign dignitaries.