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Remember That Time When The President Logged A Trap On An Aircraft Carrier?

When President Bush Came Aboard the Lincoln in Navy 1, History Was Made And A Museum-Piece Was Created

Official US Navy Photograph

When President George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) to give his “Mission Accomplished” speech to the crew in 2003 he did so in a unique way. He was the first and so far only sitting President to log a trap (arrested landing) aboard an aircraft carrier. The President came aboard the Lincoln in Lockheed S-3B Viking Bureau Number (BuNo) 159387, assigned to Sea Control Squadron THREE FIVE (VS-35) Blue Wolves. The aircraft was flown by VS-35 Executive Officer Commander Skip Lussier and Lieutenant Ryan Phillips. Here is a video clip of the momentous moment when Navy 1 trapped aboard the Lincoln uploaded by the AP Archive YouTube channel.

VS-35 was a component of Carrier Air Wing FOURTEEN (CVW-14) at the time. BuNo 159387 was accepted by the Navy in May of 1974 as an S-3A variant. For about 15 years the aircraft was operated by VS-29 Dragonfires of CVW-11. The jet also operated with VS-31 Topcats of CVW-7 and by VS-29 again. 159387 earned an Operation Desert Shield ribbon with VS-29 and was assigned to VS-35 during the late 1990s. With the Blue Wolves the jet earned another combat ribbon, flying missions over Iraq. Not long after her duty as Navy 1 was complete, 159387 was grounded and flown to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola. The jet is displayed there today. The Blue Wolves S-3B Vikings were finally grounded when the squadron was disestablished after their final deployment in March of 2005.

“Navy 1” 159387 at the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Photo by the author.

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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