Museums Fighting Over JFK/LBJ Air Force One

Jan 17, 2014

The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Texas wants to display the Air Force One jet on which Johnson took the presidential oath of office in 1963.

The jet is now on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. Jerry Kenney of member station WSYO in Yellow Springs reports.

The plane that served as Air Force One for Presidents Kennedy through Clinton is part of the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Now, the LBJ Library has asked the Air Force to transfer the aircraft to their collection.

Tom Johnson, with the LBJ Foundation, says the plane was important to President Johnson, who was sworn in on it following Kennedy’s assasination.

“It also is the plane the President Nixon sent to Texas to retrieve President Johnson’s body, after his death, to bring it to Washington for him to lie in state, and then to return him to Texas for his final services at the LBJ Ranch.”

Yet, Johnson says the library in Austin, Texas doesn’t want to create any adversaries at the Air Force museum, or among Ohio’s lawmakers.  Congressman Mike Turner, of Dayton believes the move could set an unwelcome precedent.

“We want to make certain that this doesn’t become a habit of presidential libraries seeking the planes that really should be on public view, public display as part of the Air Force Museum.”

Museum officials in Dayton have said they have no plans to move or loan the plane out, and there’s been no word yet from the Air Force on the subject.