Monday, May 9, 2011

President Doe's Air Force 1

More of Liberian Aviation Week, more posting from the M2M archives. Yesterday's post mentioned that the ill-fated Air Liberia's only jet aircraft was supposedly used exclusively for "VIP" transport. Apparently, restraint lessened further. Here is a postcard showing Samuel K. Doe's state aircraft, a Boeing 707. This plane was apparently last seen at a London-area airport in 1990-- unconfirmed rumor that part of the Doe family used the jet to flee the country at the end of Doe's reign.

It cannot be confirmed whether or not this aircraft ferried then-Chairman Doe to Washington on his state visit to United States, where he was received on the portico of the White House by Reagan in August 1982. It was moments after this shot was taken, during the course of a press-covered reception, that Reagan famously gaffed, referring to the Liberian head of state as, "Chairman Moe."

August, 1982: Note the Shoes!

An equally well-known photograph from the two-week America trip shows what is reported to be a full-honor armed forces arrival ceremony (fit for a former Master-Sargeant) with Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger:

Nonetheless, how fitting that perhaps the only two large Boeing jet airliners that were ever registered in the country were exclusively a governmental perk, and seemed never to have been used by a Liberian airline to grow its scheduled passenger services.

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