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Working on the Bush funeral train detail: “It was the chance of a lifetime”

Airman suppors Bush funeral detail

Master Sgt. Shana Cobbs poses for a photo in front of the George Bush 4141 Locomotive Dec. 3, 2018, in Spring, Tex. Cobbs provided security for the locomotive during the Bush funeral detail, securing the areas prior to arrival at each location. (Courtesy photo)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Having served in the Arkansas Air National Guard as a member of the 189th Services Flight for the past 19 years, a police officer with the North Little Rock police department for more than 16 years, and a Special Agent with Union Pacific for the past 3 years, Master Sgt. Shana Cobbs knows a thing or two about commitment to duty. Recently, her job as a special agent with Union Pacific provided her with a unique opportunity to participate in a special assignment that she says she feels that she was uniquely prepared to handle. 

Cobbs was one of the agents assigned to provide security for the President George H.W. Bush funeral car train while it was in Spring, Texas. The motorcade transporting the remains of the 41st president left Houston, Texas and arrived at the Union Pacific Railroad Westfield Auto Facility in Spring, Texas on December 6. Cobbs’ duties included securing the Westfield site and Locomotive No. 4141, the George Bush Locomotive, prior to the arrival of the motorcade. Cobbs explained that she had been preparing for the detail for awhile prior to its final execution. 

“I live and work out of Arkansas but I’d made several trips to Spring, Texas in recent months to prepare for this event. [Locomotive] 4141 has been ready to transport President Bush for awhile,” Cobbs stated. 

As a Union Pacific Special Agent, Cobbs’ job is to investigate threats of terrorism and derailments, theft of property, handle trespassers and vandalism, and provide overall security on railroad properties. Cobbs acknowledges that her experience as a police officer qualified her for the job but her military training has also proven useful as well on numerous occasions.

“My military experience has definitely helped me in my career. Learning how to adapt and overcome is an important part of being a military member,” she stated.

Cobbs recognized the opportunity to participate in the funeral detail as a remarkable chance to take part in a historical event. 

“These types of events don't come along very often and it was an honor to be a part of such an important moment in history,” she said. “I appreciate Union Pacific for allowing me the opportunity and I would be honored to participate in something of this magnitude again.”

After arriving at the Westfield facility in Spring, Texas, Former President Bush’s remains were transported by the George Bush 4141 to College Station, Texas, where he was interred. The George Bush 4141 was unveiled in 2005 during a ceremony near the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum located on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. The train had been stored and maintained at the facility in North Little Rock since 2010.

According to the Union Pacific website, the George Bush 4141 locomotive is traveling to various Union Pacific facilities around the United States to give employees a chance to view it firsthand but no public displays are currently planned.