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Obama's historic all-female Marine One crew

July 17, 2009 |  8:01 am

President Obama boards Marine One with an all-female crew July 16, 2009

It was another first in presidential history.

When President Obama left the White House on Thursday for Andrews Air Force Base, the Marine One helicopter that lifted off from the South Lawn was piloted by the first female helicopter aircraft commander in Marine One history. Maj. Jennifer Grieves of Glendale, Ariz., flew her first Marine One mission in May 2008, and had flown Obama and then-President George W. Bush.

In honor of Grieves' last day in the rotation, the Marines assigned two other female officers -- Maj. Jennifer L. Marino, of Palisade, Colo., and Sgt. Rachael A. Sherman, of Traverse City, Mich. -- to complete the crew. And that all-female crew was another first.

Marine Maj. Jennifer Grieves, the first pilot to commander a Marine One helicopter Marines say Grieves is off to Command and Staff College in Quantico, Va.

When the president boarded Marine One en route to try to salvage Gov. Jon Corzine's reelection bid in New Jersey and to address the NAACP in New York, he stopped to talk to Grieves and shook her hand.

Of course Obama is accustomed to being surrounded by women. At the White House he lives with First Lady Michelle Obama; their daughters, Malia and Sasha; and his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson.

Still, it was a singular moment in girl power when the chopper lifted off.

Perhaps CNN put it best when it called Grieves "the woman that shattered Marine One's glass rotors."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photos: President Obama. Credit: Associated Press.

Maj. Grieves. Credit: Getty Images.

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