The first Air Force One

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With the President of the USA travelling at the moment there is a lot of mention of Air Force One.

That made me wonder who used the 1st Air Force One, turns out it was Franklin D.Roosevelt. Although technically it had a different name, the first plane designated Air Force One had the nickname “Sacred Cow”

 

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The Douglas VC-54C “Sacred Cow,” became the first official presidential airplane in 1944. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to use the “Sacred Cow” in 1945 just before he died. The plane features an elevator that would lift FDR in his wheelchair aboard the plane.

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When President Franklin D. Roosevelt flew to the Casablanca Conference in 1943 on board a commercial Boeing 314 Clipper Ship, he became the first U.S. president to fly while in office. Concerned about relying upon commercial airlines to transport the president, the USAAF leaders ordered the conversion of a military aircraft to accommodate the special needs of the Commander in Chief.

After encountering difficulties with converting a C-87A transport, the USAAF arranged with Douglas Aircraft to construct a new transport aircraft specifically for presidential use. Nicknamed the Sacred Cow, this VC-54C became the first military aircraft to transport a U.S. president when President Roosevelt took it to the USSR for the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

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No president of the United States had sported an official airplane before Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And in 1943, there was considerable debate as to whether the chief executive of the United States should fly. However, Roosevelt had a flair for the dramatic. He was the first US president to visit the continent of Africa and the first president since Abraham Lincoln to visit a battle theater in time of war. None before him had ever left the US in time of war.

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To be honest I think it looks a lot cooler than the current one.

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Lyndon B. Johnson taking the Presidential Oath.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Jackie was angled in such a way as to hide the blood on her coat. It’s the perfect image reflect the American Pain of the moment, the quick need for seamless succession, and yet, and yet, in that relatively desperate moment, attention is still given to the gloss and optics of how the whole thing is presented.

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For the inauguration twenty-seven people squeezed into the sixteen-foot square stateroom of Air Force One for the proceedings. Adding to the discomfort was the lack of air conditioning as the aircraft had been disconnected from the external power supply, in order to take off promptly. As the inauguration proceeded the four jet engines of Air Force One were being powered up.

The Warren Commission’s report detailed the inauguration: “From the Presidential airplane, the new President telephoned Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who advised that Mr. Johnson take the Presidential oath of office before the plane left Dallas. Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes hastened to the plane to administer the oath. Members of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential parties filled the central compartment of the plane to witness the swearing in. At 2:38 p.m. CST, Lyndon Baines Johnson took the oath of office as the 36th President of the United States. Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Johnson stood at the side of the new President as he took the oath of office. Nine minutes later, the Presidential airplane departed for Washington, D.C.”.

 

The swearing-in ceremony administered by Judge Hughes in an Air Force One conference room represented the first time that a woman administered the presidential oath of office as well as the only time it was conducted on an airplane. Instead of the usual Bible, Johnson was sworn in upon a missal found on a side table in Kennedy’s Air Force One bedroom. After the oath had been taken, Johnson kissed his wife on the forehead. Mrs. Johnson then took Jackie Kennedy’s hand and told her, “The whole nation mourns your husband”.

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The famous photograph of the inauguration was taken by Cecil Stoughton, John F. Kennedy’s official photographer. On Stoughton’s suggestion Johnson was flanked by his wife and Jacqueline Kennedy, facing slightly away from the camera so that blood stains on her pink Chanel suit would not be visible. The photograph was taken using a Hasselblad camera.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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