Marine One – Reagan Library

USMC HMX-1 "Nighthawks" insignia
USMC HMX-1 “Nighthawks” insignia

In the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California sits a famous helicopter with Presidential ties. Marine One is the call sign given to helicopters that transport the President and are operated by US Marine Corps Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) “Nighthawks“. This example is a 1962 Sikorsky VH-3A Sea King (tail number 150611) that was retired in 2002. It sits below the much larger Air Force One in the museums Air Force One Pavilion.

Originally the VH-3A was a US Army helicopter aka Army One (since 1957 both the US Army and US Marine Corps conducted presidential and executive transport duties and the moniker would change depending on which service was flying the President. The army ceased such flights in 1976) but in 1967 it was transferred to the US Marine Corps at HMX-1 becoming Marine One and flew President Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968 (he was in office from 1963 to 1969). The helicopter resumed this role again between 1974 and 1976 for President Gerald Ford (in office from 1974 to 1977). President Reagan flew in a similar VH-3A.

Marine One helicopter Ronald Reagan Library
Marine One
Marine One Reagan Library
Marine One
Marine One Sikorsky VH-3A Reagan Library
Sikorsky VH-3A
Ronald Reagan Library Marine One and Air Force One
Marine One and Air Force One
Senator Robert Dole, Elizabeth Dole, and President Gerald Ford disembarking Marine One in 1976
Senator Robert Dole, Elizabeth Dole and President Gerald Ford disembarking Marine One in 1976
Marine One Reagan Library
Marine One is well presented and looks as it would have during Presidential VIP duties
President and nancy Reagan departure via Marine One for Trip to Europe and Moscow Summit. 5/25/1988
May 25th, 1988 The Reagan’s wave as they depart via Marine One for Trip to Europe and Moscow Summit from south lawn – this is a different one from the museum example (Photo Source: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum)
A birds eye view of Marine One Reagan Library
A birds eye view of Marine One
Sikorsky VH-3A Sea King Marine One Reagan Library
Sikorsky VH-3A Sea King Marine One

When not on executive duty the helicopter was allocated to US Navy helicopter support squadrons HC-2 and HC-6 from 1976 until retired in 2002. The helicopter has been on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum (Pensacola, Florida) to the Ronald Reagan Library since 2004 and on display since 2005. It is an immaculate restoration. You can also go inside Marine One and although no photos are allowed I can tell you it is well-appointed and very comfortable inside with couches and armchairs (not like the standard military version!).

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