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Obama's hero worship of US Airways pilot

January 19, 2009 | 10:07 am

UU S Air plane after it landed in the Hudson River instead of LaGuardia after running into geese

A week ago he had no national profile, a competent and experienced pilot for US Airways who lived in Danville, Calif., with his wife, Lorrie, and their daughters, Katie and Kelly.

But last Thursday, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger III, known as Sully, made a remarkable emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the icy waters of New York's Hudson River after the engines failed and managed to save all 155 passengers and crew on board.

On Saturday, President-elect Barack Obama personally invited the Sullenbergers -- and the plane's entire crew -- to come to Washington for the inauguration -- and to fly aboard Air Force One sometime.

And today, participating in a day of national service in honor of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Obama mentioned the pilot as he helped paint the Sasha Brown House, a shelter for at-risk children.

Paraphrasing Sullenberger as saying, "Me and my crew, we were just doing our job," Obama added, "If everybody did their job, whatever that job was, as well as that pilot did his job, we'd be in pretty good shape."

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: Craig Ruttle / Associated Press