31 May 2009
We are in Singapore for an extra day. This following is an official statement from Geoff Morrell, the press secretary for Secretary Gates:
“Secretary Gates has elected to delay by a day his travel to Manila. A series of mechanical problems on one of the military’s specially-outfitted 747’s prevented it from being flown today as scheduled. The flight crew is hard at work trying to repair the aircraft, but a back-up plane with appropriate communications capabilities is being flown into Singapore and will be available to transport the Secretary to Manila Monday morning if needed. Despite the later arrival, the Secretary still anticipates being able to conduct all of his planned engagements in Manila, including meeting with Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro and visiting with US and Philippine forces, before heading to Alaska.”
The United States can’t afford to have Secretary Gates without communications, even for a few hours. If the President needs him, or something goes wrong, Secretary Gates must be plugged in. So we are waiting for a fix and will move out shortly.