Love Field: JFK Arrives

Since Oct. 19, 1917, Love Field has grown from an Army Air Service training facility with a single grass landing strip to a regional airport that serves more than seven million passengers annually.

The airport was named after United States Army flyer 1st Lt. Moss Lee Love, who was killed in a Type C Wright pusher bi-plane in San Diego, Calif.  Love was the 10th fatality in Army aviation and had been previously assigned detailed aviation duty with the Signal Corps in Texas City, Texas, according to the airport.

In 1927, less than a decade after the end of World War I, the Army air field was sold to the City of Dallas and opened to civilian and commerical use. Paved runways, new hangars, terminals, jet service and other improvements would be made in the years that followed. 

By 1963, Love Field was one of three commerical airports servicing DFW, along with Meacham International and Greater Southwest International, both of which were in Fort Worth.

Kennedy, Air Force One Arrives at Dallas Love Field

On the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, Air Force One, carrying President John F. Kennedy and the first lady, departed Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth at 11:25 a.m. At 11:40 a.m., Air Force One touched down at Love Field after the short 30-mile flight.

Moments before Air Force One landed, the plane carrying Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife touched down at Love Field, allowing the couple time to get into position to welcome the president and first lady to Dallas.

Thousands of supporters, and a few protesters, line a gate around Love Field where many were hoping to cheer, support and otherwise gaze upon the glamorous couple.  JFK and the first lady moved along a fence, shaking hands with dozens of well-wishers, before finally getting into the presidential limousine to get the motorcade through Dallas underway.

At 11:55 a.m., JFK's motorcade leaves Love Field for it's 9.5 mile journey to and through downtown Dallas to the Dallas Trade Mart, where Kennedy was to speak at about 1 p.m.

A Change of Plans

After escaping Dealey Plaza without injury, Vice President Johnson followed the presidential motorcade to Parkland Hospital.

After both the Last Rites of the Church had been administered and the president declared dead, Johnson, now President Johnson, left Parkland Hospital for Love Field under heavy guard.  Johnson boarded the President's airplane and was soon after joined by Mrs. Kennedy and the body of the slain president.

According to the Warren Report, "at 2:38 p.m., in the central compartment of the plane, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States by Federal District Court Judge Sarah T. Hughes."

With Johnson sworn in as the 36th President of the United States, the plane immediately departed for Washington D.C. and arrived at Andrews Air Force Base at 5:58 p.m. EST.

After the tragic events unfolded in Dallas, the city and Love Field were added to the short list of locations outside of Washington D.C., where the presidential oath of office has been administered.  Presidents Washington and John Adams took the oath in New York City and Philadelphia while presidents Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt and Coolidge, all vice presidents at the time, took the oath in New York City, Buffalo and Plymouth, Vt., respectively.

Source: Dallas Love Field
††Source: Warren Commission Report

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