The remarkable — and secret — first presidential visit to troops fighting overseasBreaking News
tags: FDR, WWII, presidential visit to troops
On Jan. 9, 1943, as World War II raged, President Franklin D. Roosevelt left Washington on a train heading north. It was a misdirection meant to trick journalists into thinking Roosevelt was headed to his estate in Upstate New York, recounts Paul M. Sparrow, director of the FDR Presidential Library. It worked.
In Baltimore, Roosevelt covertly switched to a train bound for Miami. From there, he boarded a plane headed south, becoming the first president to fly in an airplane while in office.
What followed was an itinerary that would intimidate even a modern young jet-setter: a 10-hour flight to Trinidad and Tobago; a nine-hour flight to Para River, Brazil; a 19-hour flight over the Atlantic to Gambia; and an 11-hour flight to Casablanca in what is now Morocco. Roosevelt arrived at his final destination on the evening of Jan. 14 — five days after he left the White House.