Allen's Blog

“This Was Air Force One…”

I just learned of the death, earlier this week, of Col. Ralph Albertazzie, who piloted Air Force One during the Nixon administration. That brought to mind the photograph I made at Andrews Air Force Base on August 9, 1974, as the Nixon family boarded Air Force One for the final time.

Nixon boarding Air Force One

Col. Albertazzie commanded that flight, and the attached obit, quoting from his book, “The Flying White House,” notes the exact time and location when Air Force One changed its call sign to SAM 27000. That was the moment that Gerald Ford was sworn in as President, and Nixon became a private citizen.

Gerald Ford's first speech as President

Applause for Gerald Ford

I managed to make it back to the White House in time for the swearing in and later got a look at the Oval Office without any sign of its previous occupant or the new President.

Empty Oval Office