John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks on the Occasion of the Rollout of the First C-141 All Jet Transport.

August 22, 1963

Senator Russell, Senator Talmadge, Members of the Congress:

I want to join with the members of the Georgia delegation in expressing our commendation to the men and women who work at Marietta, work at Georgia, work, indeed, throughout the United States, as Senator Russell said, in beginning a great new effort to strengthen the security of the United States. I think it is particularly appropriate that this should take place in Georgia which has been a leader in the field of national security, which has given us the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman Vinson, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Russell, and which has provided the United States Members of Congress, Congressman Davis and others, Senator Tab madge, who have worked hard to strengthen our security.

This plane is going to be most important. This is a small world and becoming smaller every day. The cause of freedom is under challenge all over the globe. This will give us the means to move our forces faster. Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, where freedom is endangered, where our allies are fighting for their security, this plane and those that will follow it will mean that the United States is always present.

Admiral Mahan said a good many years ago that ships out of sight of land were maintaining the freedom of many countries. Now it will be planes, maybe stationed here in the United States but able to move across the Atlantic Ocean, the fastest cargo carrying plane in the world, across the Pacific carrying dozens of troops, tons of cargo.

This means that the power of the United States will be felt on behalf of the cause of freedom all over the globe. I congratulate the men and women working at Marietta. This can mean a good deal. I received this morning a letter from the General of the U.S. Army, the Chief of Staff General Wheeler, in which he said, "Dear Mr. President: On behalf of the Army, I want to express our appreciation for the continuing efforts to improve our Nation's airlift capability as manifested today by the unveiling of the C-141 Starlifter. This truly strategic aircraft will greatly increase the ability of the United States Armed Forces to support our policies by giving us modern means to move our men and equipment to trouble spots, actual or potential, in minimum time."

This is a good moment for the United States and it is with great pride and satisfaction that I join the Georgia delegation, and indeed the people all over the country, in pressing this button which will make formal the rolling out of the first plane which will happily be followed by dozens of others.

Note: The President spoke in the Fish Room at the White House at 11 a.m. In his opening remarks he referred to Senators Richard B. Russell and Herman E. Talmadge and Representatives Carl Vinson and John W. Davis, all of Georgia.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks on the Occasion of the Rollout of the First C-141 All Jet Transport. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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