Army One?

So, I mentioned that the President went to Afghanistan. What I missed was a bit of arcane trivia.  Most of you are familiar with Air Force One. But AF1 isn’t really the name of the two modified 747s set aside for his use. It is the call sign of whichever Air Force aircraft that he is aboard. Similarly, whenever the President is aboard on of the VH-3s operated by the Marines, that aircraft bears the call sign “Marine One.”

It’s awfully rare that the President flies on board an operational aircraft, rather than one of the fleet of special mission aircraft. So I was pleased to see that while in Afghanistan, the President hopped a ride on board a helo from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, allowing that crew to use the rarely invoked call sign “Army One.”

No, I didn’t get to see him.

But I will note that his transit between Kabul and Bagram was not done with USMC helos, but Army ones belonging to 3rd CAB, the “Wings of the Marne.”

So for two short flights, that one lucky bird had the rarely used callsign of “Army One.”

As a historical matter, for a long time, the Army was the agency tasked with operating the President’s helicopter flight.  It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the Marines took over that job.

9 thoughts on “Army One?”

  1. Also for the record it was “Army One” that flew FORMER President Nixon off the South Lawn, not Marine One!

  2. I wonder why the Marines took over? I guess to be ‘fair”. I know that the 82nd Airborne is supposed to be ” The President’s Bodyguard “, the USAF hauls him around, the President’s physisian has traditionally been USN, and the USCG runs the yacht. This gived the Marines something “Presidential”to do.

  3. 1. I’m not aware of any special relation between the President and the 82nd. But the Old Guard (3rd US Infantry Regiment) is the largest ceremonial unit in all the services.

    2. There’s no Presidential yacht anymore. I’m saddened by this. I want some trappings to go with the office.

    1. I hadn’t heard the Presidential yacht had been sunk. Seriously, I thought the Prez still had one.

  4. If i remember correctly, When CAMP David was established by President Eisenhower. it was named for the US Marines and his Grandson, David, *many moons ago*.

  5. Back in the early 60’s, when JFK was President, there were two units that shared the responsibility for providing Presidential helicopter support. An Army unit (I have forgotten the designation), and a Marine unit (HMX-1). If I recall correctly, while LBJ was President, during the Vietnam war, the Army unit was disestablished to free up pilots and ground crew for Vietnam and HMX-1 was assigned the sole responsibility.

  6. I checked up, it wasn’t until the late 70s that the Marines took over sole responibility for the President’s helicopters.

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