By Renee Ruwe
NEWBURGH - It was an exciting atmosphere amidst a rainy arrival of Air Force One last Wednesday. President Barack Obama, accompanied by Senator Jack Reed, landed at Stewart 105th ANG Base on his way to the United States Military Academy at West Point to deliver the commencement speech. After departing Air Force One, the President was flown, via Marine One HMX-1 Helicopter, to West Point for the Graduation Ceremony.
On November 11,1962, President John F. Kennedy flew on the maiden voyage of the first modern day Air Force One. The Boeing aircraft was flown from the factory in Seattle, Washington to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, DC, where upon boarding the aircraft it officially became Air Force One.
The flight flew from Andrews Air Force Base to what was previously called Stewart Air Force Base. Also on that flight were future President Lyndon B. Johnson, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The former First Lady helped design the interior and exterior of Air Force One with the assistance of industrial designer Raymond Loewy.
Air Force One is one of the most recognizable symbols of the American Presidency. Modern day Presidents have used Stewart Air Force Base at various times to come into the Hudson Valley area. President Kennedy landed at Stewart in June of 1962 for the West Point Commencement Ceremony, and again in September 1963 en route to the opening of the Grey Towers in Milford, Pennsylvania. Other Presidents that landed in Newburgh include Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Stewart ANG Base held a funeral ceremony and 21 gun salute for deceased President Nixon alongside his former Air Force One plane, serial number 27000, before being flown to California for interment at the Nixon Library.