20 July 2009

Obama's Historic All-Female Marine One Crew

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 checking In!!!

As an aviator any "first" that come along, I love to hear about them. So here is President Obama adding to the list which now includes the first Historic All-Female Marine One Crew front and back, including the aircraft Crew Chief!!!

That's what I'm talking about and it's great to see that even the President believes in the Marines and it's corp of female pilots who trained very hard I'm sure to make it to the pinnacle of their aviation careers thus far!

First I blog that an African American female aviator makes a trip across country at 15 years of age under the guidance of a Tuskeegee airman and now this and all of this is in the light of the 40 year annivesary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon!

This is why I love aviation in all areas because it's always exciting to see what "we" as aviators can get ourselves into and then share it with the world!!!

Good job and keep the blue side up to the ladies of Marine One!!!

It was another first in presidential history.
President Obama left the White House on Thursday for Andrews Air Force Base, the Marine One helicopter that lifted off from the South Lawn was piloted by the first female helicopter aircraft commander in Marine One history. Maj. Jennifer Grieves of Glendale, Ariz., flew her first Marine One mission in May 2008,
In honor of Grieves' last day in the rotation, the Marines assigned two other female officers -- Maj. Jennifer L. Marino, of Palisade, Colo., and Sgt. Rachael A. Sherman, of Traverse City, Mich. -- to complete the crew. And that all-female crew was another first.
Marine Corps Maj. Jennifer Grieves is interviewed at the White House in Washington, Friday, July 17, 2009

WASHINGTON — Jennifer Grieves wanted independence, exposure and something she could be proud of when she joined the Marine Corps. She got all that, and more — including a place in history as the first woman to ever pilot Marine One, the president's helicopter.
For about 40 times in the past 14 months, she has been the one responsible for ferrying President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney to and from Andrews Air Force Base, and other points in their world travels.

Maj. Jennifer Grieves waits on the South Lawn of the White House for President Barack Obama to board Marine One, Thursday, July 16, 2009, on her last day in her rotation as pilot of Marine One. Grieves is the first female Marine One pilot, and the Marine One crew is made up entirely all women today in honor of her achievement. She was designated the helicopter aircraft commander of Marine One in May, 2008.

Her 14-month rotation as a "Marine One" ended Thursday with another first: An all-female crew, led by Grieves, landed on the South Lawn of the White House to take Obama to Andrews for a day trip to New Jersey and New York.
For Grieves, now a major, enlisting was not about piloting the president or being the first woman with the responsibility.
"It's just about being a Marine," she says matter-of-factly.
Grieves, 38, joined nearly 20 years ago in her hometown of Glendale, Ariz., seeking broader horizons. Until then, her only exposure to the military was a grandfather who had served in the Navy.

"I think I just wanted some independence. I wanted some exposure. I wanted to be a part of an organization that I could be proud of," she said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I had no idea initially that it would turn into something that I've been more proud of than anything else in my life. I got lucky in that respect, and I made a good decision and it ended up turning out very well."

Grieves came to helicopters by chance. A college mentor recommended that she take an aptitude test. She did, and it pointed her toward flying. She was accepted to flight school and "ended up realizing that I should have wanted to do that ever since I was a kid."
"It's something I love," Grieves said of flying; she can fly three different types of helicopters.
A supervisor who had served in the Marine One squadron recommended that she apply. She joined in 2005, spent a couple of years as a co-pilot and then became qualified to fly vice presidents and visiting heads of state.

She was given the ultimate responsibility, being designated a "Marine One," in 2008.
The native of Alameda, Calif., said she didn't realize the significance of her achievement until her rotation ended Thursday. Next comes leadership school in Quantico, Va., starting in August. Grieves expects to finish in June 2010 and return to flying, either in North Carolina or Afghanistan.

"Yesterday, I realized that it might be significant, and it might be important," she said, adding that she was proud of her crew and all the Marines who support her. "And I guess, a little bit, I'm kind of proud of myself, too."

Marine One pilot Maj. Jennifer L. Grieves, of Glendale, Ariz., left, copilot, Maj. Jennifer L. Marino , Palisade, Colo., center, and crew chief Sgt. Rachael A. Sherman, Traverse City, Mich., take off from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 16, 2009, with President Barack Obama aboard. Grieves, the first female Marine One pilot, is on the last day in her rotation as pilot of Marine One. The Marine One crew is made up entirely all women today in honor of her achievement. She was designated the helicopter aircraft commander of Marine One in May, 2008.

On Thursday, Obama greeted Grieves and her co-pilot, Maj. Jennifer Marino, of Palisade, Colo., as he boarded. Once on the tarmac at Andrews, he walked up front and told them how proud he was, she said. He gave her one of his personal presidential coins.
"He said he's always felt like he was in good hands with all of us," Grieves said.
There's little time to get to know the president, but that isn't Grieves' job.
"Our job is to fly him, to be professional, take him from A to B and to take him there safely," she said.

Her first day flying Bush, "I was a nervous wreck. I was extremely nervous," she said.
She remembers he boarded and came to shake her hand. "He kind of did a doubletake," at the sight of a woman in the pilot's chair. They greeted each other and "he smiled at me and I knew. I kind of felt what he was thinking and he walked back to the back and he was great ever since, just like President Obama," Grieves said. "I think the fact that they both have daughters makes it a little more special for them."


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Steve said...

It actually wasn't Obama's first. She flew President Bush as the head pilot. Obama really had nothing to do with this.