Vallecitan meets president

archive_import /

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Julie Hollars had it all planned out.

When President George W. Bush descended the ladder well into the galley of the USS Lincoln, she and two of her shipmates would snap to attention.

Hollars would introduce herself and welcome the commander in chief to the ship. It would be cordial, but professional. The president would stand about 4 feet away.

But that's not what happened.

"He walked right in and grabbed us by the shoulders," said Hollars, 33, a Vallecito native who served on the USS Lincoln during Operation Iraqi Freedom. "He gave us armhugs and was saying how happy he was to be there."

Hollars, one of eight aircraft "troubleshooters" on her carrier, was one of several Calaveras County residents who served in the military during the recent war.

Earlier this year, she was honored as the top sailor of her squad and of her carrier airwing. On Feb. 14, she was flown to San Diego from the Persian Gulf for four days and honored as one of the top five sailors of the Pacific Coast.

And then she met the president.

"I've had the most incredible year, career wise, and I have the most incredible family," Hollars said.

"But when I was standing there looking at him, knowing he's the most powerful man in the world. What can compare to that?"

A busy day

Hollars said that after Bush landed on the carrier, he spent time shaking hands with the flight deck crew before disappearing with his entourage below deck.

He was back upstairs about half an hour later, though, shaking more hands as planes took off for home.

Later on after Bush ran on the treadmill for a while, Hollars said he gave a televised speech from the flight deck. When he went below deck again, Hollars met him.

But that wasn't her last encounter with Bush.

At a dinner with 200 shipmates and no media, Hollars sat next to him. They talked about everything, she said, from global affairs to national politics. Bush also talked candidly about his daily schedule and his family.

11503831
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday May 28, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s deputies respond to alarm at Sonora KFC

05/26/2016

Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies responded with guns drawn to a holdup alarm ... more

Avalon Care Center fined for patient death

05/24/2016

Avalon Care Center in Sonora has been fined $80,000 by the California ... more

UPDATE: Probe begins in Don Pedro fire

05/25/2016

Investigators began sifting through the rubble of the Don Pedro Recreation Agency ... more

Homelessness, high school and the Butte Fire

05/20/2016

Cole Baisch arrived at Calaveras High School around lunchtime as the sky ... more

Deputies visit schools, build community ties

05/24/2016

You would think Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputy Nate Yorston was Santa Claus ... more