Right: President George W. Bush boards Marine One, piloted by the squadron commander, Col Ray “Frenchy” L’Heureux, and Maj Jeremy Deveau, in a lift from Kennebunkport, Maine, to Portsmouth, N.H., in this July 3, 2007, photo. The crew chief is SSgt Timothy Smith, and the security guard is LCpl James Anderson.

Below: HMX- 1 support of the President began when President Eisenhower (seated in this 1957 photo) needed a safe and responsive means of short-range transportation.


“Marine One”—

Welcome Aboard

By P. T. Brent


MAGINE: You are on board “ Marine One,” passing over the nation’s capital a mere 200 feet above the ground, on a short final approach to the south lawn of the White House. The Washington Monument, at 555 feet, towers over you. The people below are waving. You have clearance to enter one of the most highly restricted airspaces in the world.

You are on board one of the most storied

and historic helicopters, either the venerable Sikorsky VH-3D or the Sikorsky VH-60N. Your helicopter’s all-weather capability ensures that the nation’s Commander in Chief will be assured safe and timely transport to and from landing zones and locations that otherwise might take hours in which to drive. Best of all, your trip is completed in comfort and with a communications capability comparable to that of the Oval Office.

It all started in 1957 at President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower’s summer home on Aquidneck Island, R.I., which is the home of the Naval War College. Ike needed to return to the White House quickly. Typically, for President Eisenhower the trek back to Washington, D.C., required an hour-long ferry ride followed by a 45- minute flight to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and a 30-minute motorcade to the White House. What a commute!

Clearly, there was a necessity to create a faster way to return to the White House. “Air Force One” was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, but that big jet just wasn’t suited for close trips. President Eisenhower instructed his staff to find a more expeditious way to link up with Air Force One.

A Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX- 1) UH- 34 Seahorse helicopter was stationed near Aquidneck Island at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, R.I., in case of an emergency. It could be used to fly the President to his awaiting aircraft. Presi-