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What is Marine One?

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first U.S. President to use Marine One to get to his vacation home without disrupting ground or air traffic.
Marine One often lands on the White House lawn when it transports the president.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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Air Force One is perhaps one of the most famous aircraft ever flown. It is the jumbo jet that flies the President of the United States of America all over the world and it is fortified with the most current technology to keep it safe and secure. But before the President takes a trip from the Air Force base in Washington to his destination, he rides another famous aircraft called Marine One. This helicopter is most often seen carrying the President from the lawn of the White House to the Air Force base where the President boards Air Force One, but Marine One has many more jobs than just that short ride.

Like Air Force One, Marine One is only so-called when the President is aboard. Otherwise, it is simply a VH-3D helicopter (or its smaller counterpart, the VH-60N). It is used for shorter trips that would prove cumbersome for the much larger Air Force One, and it contains far fewer amenities than its jumbo jet counterpart. Marine One is a safer transport logistically than a motorcade, making it an ideal choice for short trips to a variety of locations. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first U.S. President to use the helicopter to get to his vacation home without disrupting ground or air traffic.

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Marine One travels with the President abroad, as well, to be utilized for shorter trips in other countries.To accommodate such trips, Marine One can be taken apart, or essentially folded, to be stored on a larger aircraft.

Because Marine One carries a world leader, extreme safety measures must be taken to ensure the President is safe at all times. Marine One never flies alone; instead, several identical helicopters fly with Marine One so that someone looking up from the ground would not know which helicopter held the President. The many helicopters change positions frequently, and each one is equipped with top-secret, state-of-the-art security features should an attack arise.

The Marine Squadron HMX-1 is charged with the task of operating Marine One. Pilots on board do not wear flight suits; instead, they wear their Marine Blue Dress uniform. Whenever Marine One touches down in a new location, an armed Marine guard is there to greet the President, acting as an armed guard.

Marine One may also be used to transport other high-ranking officials. When the President's family is on board, the aircraft's call sign is changed to Marine One Foxtrot to indicate the extra passengers. When the Vice President rides in a Marine helicopter, it is designated Marine Two.

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