2016-03-30 / Families & Friends

Presidents I met or saw

By EVERETT VANOVER

Working in the printing department, I always had firsthand information of everything going on.

Truman was the first president to visit Travis Air Force Base, Calif. I was in another part of the world at that time.

He was flying in from St. Louis aboard his presidential aircraft, “Independence,” en route to Wake Island to confer with MacArthur about the conduct of the Korean War. He visited wounded Korean War soldiers at the base hospital.

I met Lyndon Johnson in 1961 when he was vicepresident at Arlington National Cemetery when I escorted the body of the first Air Force master sergeant to be buried there. We talked for some time.

He visited Travis twice, once as vice-president in 1961 and again as president in 1967.

May 4, 1961, he stayed a couple of hours chatting with us military personnel and civilian workers, and shaking our hands.

President Eisenhower paid a visit to Travis on June 20, 1960. He had landed at Travis on his way to Korea on Dec. 12, 1952. I was not at Travis during that trip.

President George H.W. Bush stopped at Travis in 1991. He never got off of the plane as it was refueled.

His son, George W. Bush, landed at the base on Oct. 17, 2001, and spoke to base personnel and community leaders while en route to China.

I met Reagan twice, once as governor of California and once as president, both times at the Flight Line Coffee Shop. He was a talker.

I saw President Nixon a couple of times while I was assigned to the Pentagon. When I retired from the military on Dec. 1, 1972, Nixon walked into the room, handed me my retirement papers and shook my hand.

That was the end of my military career.

I now live five miles from Travis Air Force Base where I was assigned for 13 years. I had a great military career and saw most of the world.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.

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