Sinclair Basketball Visits Kennedy's Air Force One

The Sinclair Men’s Basketball team cut Friday practice short to visit the United States Air Force Museum. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the site of the Presidential and Research & Development Galleries that houses a number of aircraft, including President Kennedy’s Air Force One from the day of his assassination. Advanced permission was given for a special viewing time at the Presidential and Research & Development Galleries which is located on the controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. As the nation pauses to mourn and remember the 35th President of the United States and with flags flying at half-staff on this 50th anniversary, the Men’s & Women’s basketball teams toured the plane that holds so much American history. It was approximately 2:38pm Central Time, 3:38pm Eastern Time, when President Johnson took the oath of office on Air Force One as the 36th President of the United States in 1963. Some 50 year later about 4:00pm Eastern Standard Time, both the Men’s & Women’s basketball teams were there to remember a fallen leader.

The SAM 26000 (Special Air Mission; tail number 26000) flew President Kennedy to Berlin in 1963, where he declared to West Berliners, "Ich bin ein Berliner," assuring them of continuing United States support in the face of Communist threats and the construction of the Berlin Wall. Kennedy also flew aboard SAM 26000 to Dallas, Texas, where he was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963—and it was on this airplane that Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the new president. SAM 26000 then carried John F. Kennedy's body and President Johnson back to Washington, D.C. Johnson also used SAM 26000 to visit U.S. troops in Vietnam during the Southeast Asia War.

The afternoon was spent touring the Presidential and Research & Development Galleries as team members moved from exhibit to exhibit. The trip to WPAFB was just one of many educational venues that are a part of the Men’s Basketball Player Enhancement Program (PEP). The program was developed as part of a long range goal to assist our young men and help them grow both on and off the court through guest lectures and off site visits. Some of the program highlights have included: tours of the White House, Arlington Cemetery, Supreme Court, US Capitol, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (Philly) as well as speakers from the Secret Service, Sinclair Professors, local business professionals and former & current NBA & NFL players.