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Transportation of the President of the United States

The presidential state car and the Air Force One during a state visit in 2007

The United States government has maintained a variety of vehicles for the President. Because of his role as Commander-in-Chief he exclusively uses military transports for international travel, however the civilian Secret Service operates the President's motorcade.



Since 1953 whenever the President is on board a military flight its call sign is the name of the armed service followed by the word "One". Thus Air Force One, Army One, Coast Guard One, Marine One and Navy One.[1] However, only the Air Force and Marine Corps actively maintain aircraft for the Commander-in-Chief, and as of January 19, 2017, the President has not flown in a Coast Guard aircraft. If the President uses a civilian airplane it is designated Executive One.[1]


The Presidential state car is a limousine called Cadillac One or The Beast which is operated by the Secret Service. There are at least two limousines. There is a bus unofficially called Ground Force One officially called Stagecoach, while the president is aboard, which is operated by the Secret Service.


Four Presidential Carriages were built by the H & C Studebaker blacksmith shop, the predecessor of the Studebaker Corporation; one of these carried Lincoln to the Ford's Theatre the night of his assassination.[2] All four carriages are on permanent display at the Studebaker National Museum located in South Bend, Indiana. The carriages were used by Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.[3]

Presidential railcarsEdit

Lincoln's executive coach

Several Presidents have traveled by rail. President Abraham Lincoln never enjoyed the executive coach "United States" built in 1865 exclusively for his use; he refused the opulence. He was unable to enjoy the deluxe accommodations on his final journey, a slow circuitous trip from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois, with his son Willie aboard the "Lincoln Special" funeral train.[4]

The Ferdinand Magellan was a Pullman Company business car pulled from charter service, armour plated, and rebuilt into living quarters and office for Presidents between 1943 and 1958, and is currently on static display at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami-Dade County, Florida.


The USS Potomac at the Port of Oakland, California in June 2009

From 1880 to 1977 several commissioned Navy ships served as presidential yacht, however this practice was halted during the Carter administration. The table below lists the name of each of these ships and the years in which it did so.

Name Served from Served until
USS Despatch (1873) 1880 1891
USS Dolphin (PG-24) 1897 1897
USS Mayflower (PY-1) 1905 1929
USS Potomac (AG-25) 1936 1945
USS Sequoia (AG-23) 1933 1977[note 1]
USS Sylph (PY-5) 1902 c. 1921
USS Williamsburg (AGC-369) 1945 1953


  1. ^ The Sequoia served as presidential yacht first from 1933–1936 and again from 1969–1977.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Federal Aviation Administration (February 11, 2010). "Order JO 7110.65T (Air Traffic Control) §2-4-20 Paragraph 7. Presidential aircraft and Presidential family aircraft". Archived from the original on April 16, 2010. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  2. ^ The Studebaker National Museum. "The Presidential Carriage Collection". Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Trostel, Scott D. "The Lincoln Funeral Train". Retrieved November 20, 2012.