- The Pentagon says the cost of military support for President Donald Trump’s July Fourth event, “A Salute to America,” was only $US1.2 million.
- The show featured flyovers by stealth fighters, bombers, helicopters and other military aircraft, as well as static displays featuring armoured vehicles.
- The Department of Defence was unable to provide detailed accounting on how it arrived at the $US1.2 million figure.
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The Pentagon revealed Tuesday that the military support for President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July celebration cost only $US1.2 million, but the revelation was short on details.
The president pulled out all the stops for his “A Salute to America” event on July 4, which featured stealth fighters and bombers flying over the nation’s capital and armoured vehicles displayed on the National Mall. The event came together after the president failed to put on a massive military parade last year, when costs ballooned as high as $US92 million and led Trump to cancel the event.
When Business Insider asked the Department of Defence last Wednesday about the cost of the event, a Pentagon spokesman said it probably would not have a cost estimate, something typically provided prior to the delivery of goods and services, until after the event.
Trump tweeted last Tuesday that his big celebratory blowout was about, among other things, showing off “the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World.”
During the big Fourth of July event, Army AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, Navy F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and F/A-18 Hornets, Air Force F-22 Raptors and a B-2 Spirit bomber, and a Coast Guard MH-60J/T Jayhawk helicopter, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, and HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft flew overhead.
The aerial display also included a V-25 aircraft that will serve as Air Force One when the president is on board and a VH-92 helicopter set to serve as the new Marine One when it carries the president. There was also a flyover by the Navy’s demonstration team, the Blue Angels.
On the ground were two M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and two M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
The equipment was brought in from across the country, with F-35Cs from California, a B-2 from Missouri, and armoured vehicles from Georgia. While some assets flew in, others were brought by rail.
Observers note that the $US1.2 million figure provided by the Pentagon seems low, especially considering that a B-2 bomber can cost $US150,000 an hour to fly, meaning that a round trip between Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and Washington, DC could potentially cost as much as $US900,000. But, it’s difficult to know without detailed accounting.
The Pentagon was unable to provide a detailed breakdown on the costs at this time, explaining that more details may be available Wednesday.