Presidential Helicopter Passing the Washington Monument by realkevin
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. This perfectly framed shot of what could be Marine One flying in front of the Washington Monument makes me wonder what George was up to. Was he coming back from Andrews AFB? Was he on his way to Camp David? Was he giving some Saudis a tour of the city or just out for a joy ride? We’ll never know.
According to my trusty sources on The Google:
As a security measure, Marine One always flies in groups with identical helicopters, sometimes as many as five. One helicopter carries the president, while the others serve as decoys for would-be assassins on the ground. Upon take-off these helicopters begin to shift in formation (sometimes referred to as a Presidential shell game) regularly to keep the location of the President secure. Also, Marine One reportedly is equipped with standard military anti-missile countermeasures such as flares to counter heat-seaking missiles and chaff to counter radar-guided missiles. To add to the security of Marine One, every member of HMX-1 is required to pass a Yankee White background check before touching any of the helicopters used for presidential travel. Marine One is always transported (as is the president’s limousine) wherever the president travels, within the U.S. as well as overseas.
I find anything and everything to do with the presidency fascinating. For example, “Air Force One is the call sign for any fixed-wing aircraft that the President of the United States may happen to be in at any given time. Should the aircraft happen to be a rotary-wing aircraft, it is referred to as ‘Marine One’.” Also, “A Marine Corps aircraft carrying the Vice President is designated ‘Marine Two’.” Who came up with these call signs? Why not call them ‘Big Bird’ and ‘Little Bird’? Or ‘Dumb’ and ‘Dumber’? I guess there’s a reason they didn’t consult with me on this decision.
I haven’t been lucky enough to be near the Mall or the White House with my camera when one of these choppers is flying around, but I know that no matter the occasion, one of our talented photographers will be on the scene.
Just a quick clarification — I know you got your AF1/M1 info from that minihelicopter.net link, but it’s slightly wrong. Marine One isn’t the name given to any rotary-wing aircraft carrying the President, it’s the name given to any *MARINE* aircraft carrying the President. If he were on an Air Force helicopter, it’d still be Air Force One; if he were on a Marine fixed-wing (e.g., a Harrier, or an F/A-18), it’d be Marine One.
That’s an awesome shot, thanks for sharing, Max!!
Thanks for the clarification, Jason!
Great post, Max. I think Ding Dong and Twinkie would be better names.
I love the clarification about the rotary-wing aircraft.
To further expound… the POTUS is getting a new helo…the VH-71…but it’s a bit behind schedule so probably best not to hold your breath (or hang out under the monument waiting for the first great photo).
I always see marine one (all 5 of them) flying past the East Potomac golf course every Friday evening (always happens to break my concentration right before a shot!) I never knew there were so many of them…I thought he was just flying around in very large circles; a helicopter kept coming by every 3 or 4 minutes or so.