In late March, Smoot resident Angie Hardesty had the opportunity to meet with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office at the White House. Her son, Sgt. Charlie Hardesty, is a marine who was in the HMX (Helicopter Marine Special Forces). The HMX are those that handle safety and transportation of the President in helicopters.
The HMX guard the hangers, assemble the helicopters, and protect the President while he is traveling. Charlie was a part of the MP Canine Program and was a dog handler for four years; meaning he took a dog around the areas of helicopters and hangers to inspect for bombs.
He had the chance to travel to many places of the world with the President. The majority of the places that Charlie went, they had no problems. Charlie recently finished his work with the HMX and was selected to meet with President Bush. Charlie asked his mother, Angie, to accompany him.
There were only four individuals from the HMX that were selected to meet with the President this year.
“What an honor. The President is a very humble and gracious man,” said Angie. Before Angie and Charlie could meet with the President, they were told what to do, what not to do, and were informed of rules and procedures of the White House. Angie recalls that they walked through the rose garden and that their names were announced to the President when they walked in the Oval Office. Then they got their picture taken with the President and were soon ushered out.
“It’s quite an honor to be selected. It’s not something that comes easy,” said Angie. Charlie graduated from Star Valley High School in 2000 and went on to become a marine in 2003. He will soon be stationed at Camp Pendleton in California and will be going into the first marine expeditionary forces in the Combat Tracker dog program.
“He loves it. He absolutely loves it. It’s not like a job for him, he likes going everyday…he’ll probably make a career out of it,” Angie said.