Marine One refers to a helicopter bearing the U.S. President. It's not a single specific helicopter, there's actually a fleet of over twenty that can be used. If carrying someone else instead of the President, a different designation is used. For example, Marine One Foxtrot is the helicopter carrying the family of the President, Marine Two is a helicopter carrying the U.S. Vice President, and Marine Two Foxtrot has the Vice President's Family. The first US President to travel via Marine One was Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957.
For safety reasons, Marine One always flies with at least one other, sometimes up to 4 other, helicopter(s). In flight, they shift formation repeatedly, akin to a shell game. Additional security includes flares, chaff, restrictions on when and where the media is allowed to show live footage of the helicopters, and a compliment of armed Marine Corp personnel who've been through the extensive Yankee White background check. There's always at least one Marine (military) (in dress uniform) waiting on the ground before the helicopter lands.
In 2009, President Barack Obama ordered the cancellation of the planned replacement of the current fleet of helicopters with a newer and fancier model. It was trimmed due to rising costs and government waste - the fleet of 28 helicopters had been budgeted at 6 billion dollars in 2005, and had risen to over 11 billion dollars before being canceled. The cost per helicopter had climbed to over 400 million. The new model was to have been a modified AgustaWestland AW101, with such amenities as an armageddon-proof kitchen that could store and prepare food safe from radiation.
“It would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack… Now, let me tell you something: If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack.”
- Barack Obama
Game and Story Use
- Useful information for a campaign involving the U.S. Secret Service, World War III, potential assassins, the nuclear football, and the like. Such a campaign would use espionage tropes, possibly branching into War and Military Tropes if the PCs failed in their protective duties.
- In a cyberpunk campaign, or a dark conspiracy theory campaign, there'd be a secret truth behind the canceled helicopter plans - some sort of struggle between MegaCorps based roughly on Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky Aircraft.
- Ironically, the ability to prepare safe food supplies would probably be quite useful in keeping a national HQ operational in event of a major infrastructure collapse, which makes the whole issue a lot less funny in hindsight.
- An amusing vingnette in some post apocalypse campaign - a remote location containing four dark green helicopters and a number of corpses, some of them partially eaten. National command HQ went out like the Donner Party…