The military loves big events. When they can they will pull out all the stops to show off. And they want everybody to know about it so they invite the press. Not just the specialized defence press, but also the big media like TV and newspapers. Oh, and lots of distinguished visitors.

With a big event as the first new jet-fighter like the F-35 to be stationed in the Netherlands, the airforce did just that. All previously delivered F-35 are based in the United States for training purposes. The ninth F-35 for the Dutch airforce was flown directly from the factory in Italy to Leeuwarden Airbase.

And then it all goes wrong. The traditional water-arch by the base fire-department had a hick-up. One of the fire-trucks did not shoot water but fire-retardant foam over the brand-new aircraft. All seen by thousands of people live, including the national press. And why is that bad? The foam has is slightly corrosive, and the multi-million dollar engine might have been damaged. That way all the positive vibe was turned into a joke.

A publicity nightmare for the airforce who was quick to give an explanation. But that was debunked just as quick by the media that was present on scene. The fire-truck shooting the foam was not the one that was called away just before the event to an emergency on base. The whole event did raise a lot of publicity, but not as hoped. The story can be read on my defence website.