HMX-1: Marine One Presidential Pilots

This is what is like for the pilots of Marine One to land on the South lawn of the White House. Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States. It usually denotes a helicopter operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1 ‘Nighthawks’), either the large VH-3D Sea King or the newer, smaller VH-60N ‘WhiteHawk’. A Marine Corps aircraft carrying the Vice President has the call sign Marine Two. As a security measure, Marine One always flies in a group with identical helicopters, sometimes as many as five. One helicopter carries the President, while the others serve as decoys. Upon take-off these helicopters begin to shift in formation to obscure the location of the President. This has been referred to as a presidential shell game. Marine One is also equipped with standard military anti-missile countermeasures such as flares to counter heat-seeking missiles and chaff to counter radar-guided missiles, as well as AN/ALQ-144A infrared countermeasures.

Video by National Geographic