WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (WDTN) — History is on the move at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Two presidential planes made their way from Area B into the new fourth building Saturday, attracting spectators and cameras. The hangar will be the new permanent home of the planes.
“It’s very historic to see the actual Air Force One that took president Kennedy to Dallas that terrible day and brought his body back that night to Washington,” stated Fairborn resident Roger Blakely.
The hangar will house more than 70 years of presidential airlifts, starting with Sacred Cow.
“Sacred Cow, which was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s transport during World War II, that was the first to come into the new building,” stated Lieutenant General Retired Jack Hudson, Director of the museum.
Roosevelt first used the plane in 1945, followed by Harry Truman. While aboard, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, making Sacred Cow the birthplace of the U.S. Air Force.
“SAM 26000, which serves President Kennedy, President Johnson, and six more presidents, that was the second airplane to come in this morning,” said Hudson.
SAM 26000spent 13,000 hours in the air over 36 years. Retired Senior Master Sergeant Danny Bowen watched as the plane he used to work on was towed into place. He was an aircraft crew chief and worked on the plane from 1981 until 1990.
“When you spend that much time on the aircraft throughout the years, it’s just kind of neat to let everybody else see it,” said Bowen.
Bowen’s best memory was flying with the president on board.
“When we got the new 747 I was able to — the crew chief started flying with the aircraft — so I was able to fly with Bush Senior and a couple trips with Clinton,” beamed Bowen.
While both planes roll into place, museum officials are hoping their new home will help attendance take off.
“That’s one of the marvelous things about the new building, is that the million plus visitors that we see every year, they can come back here and all of them can go through these airplanes,” said Hudson.
Two more planes will be moved into the new fourth building. It will be open to the public June 8.