JFK's Air Force One plane on display in Dayton

DAYTON, OH (FOX19) - Some history buffs are observing the 50th anniversary of John Kennedy's assassination by visiting the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton where a piece of presidential history is on display.

Museum Historian Dr. Jeff Underwood says the original Air Force One was President Kennedy's aircraft and first took to the skies in 1962. The Boeing 707 served several presidents.

"Most people know it as Kennedy's Air Force one because this is the airplane that carried John Kennedy to Dallas in 1963. It had 36 years of experience flying all around the world numerous times carrying every president from President Kennedy to President Clinton at one time or another," he explained.

Following Kennedy's assassination, the plane also carried the President's casket back to Washington, but Underwood says some modifications had to be made.

"The air crew simply refused to put the President's casket in the cargo hold directly below us," he explained. Instead, the crew members cut out a piece of bulkhead and removed four seats to make room for it in the cabin.

In a state room at the center of the plane, Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office standing next to a mourning Jackie Kennedy.

"It allowed people quickly to see that the republic was in fine shape, that the constitution was being fulfilled and that the next President had taken over," said Underwood.

Whether you love presidential history or aviation history, there's a lot to see at the national museum of the U.S. Air Force. The museum receives more than a million visitors a year, and it's free to the public.

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