The white House Historical Association was in Fort Rucker on Monday to celebrate the 2019 Christmas ornament that honors President Eisenhower as the first president to use the Army One helicopter.
“The original Army One Helicopter on which the ornament is based, is right here at Fort Rucker.”
Said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, who presented the Army Aviation Museum with the ornament; a replica of the helicopter President Eisenhower once rode in.
McLaurin says “The ornament is a miniature metal ornament of Air Force One or Marine One at the time.”
A former 5-star General, Eisenhower did not show favoritism to any branch of the military.
“Eisenhower didn’t want to choose services one over the other. So he used both an Army helicopter and a Marine Corp. helicopter" McLaurin explains.
The ornament is the first of its kind for the state of Alabama.
“There’s never been an Alabama connection to a White House ornament" he says.
Governor Kay Ivey, who spoke at the event, says this ornament should give Alabamians a great sense of pride knowing that the original helicopter was built here in Alabama.
“Not only are we proud to be the home of the original Army One helicopter, but we are also proud to be a home to Lockheed Martin" Ivey said, speaking of the company that built the Army One Helicopter.
“I hope today that our celebration today not only honors the significance of President Eisenhower’s selection of the first presidential helicopter, but also reminds us of the human spirit and the contributions of our military" Ivey continued.
The ornament serves as a representative of the support that the community has for the military.
McLaurin says “Every time that families hang this on their Christmas tree, we hope that it will be a reminder of presidential history, White House history, how the helicopter came to be of use to the President of the United States. But more importantly, the men and women in uniform like are here at Fort Rucker that serve and sacrifice for our country.”
The White House Historical Association Honors Presidents with an ornament in numerical order.
President John F. Kennedy will be honored with an ornament next year.
Ornaments are available for purchase at the Army Aviation Museum's gift shop.