Retired Air Force officer regales Girard crowd with tales of his life on Air Force One


Preparing special, unplanned meals, making sure the restroom doors work properly, and practically tucking in several United States presidents and their entourage, retired Air Force Master Sgt. John L. Haigh Sr. lived his boyhood dream of traveling the world and serving his country as a steward on Air Force One.

Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign for a USAF aircraft carrying the president of the United States. It serves as the president’s office, and carries staff, distinguished heads of state and guests and the White House press corps.

Haigh, who grew up in a small coal-mining community in southwestern Pennsylvania, began living his dream when he enlisted in the Air Force on Sept. 28, 1960, shortly after graduating from high school.

Before he retired in October 1992, he had worked his way up the ranks during Jimmy Carter’s presidency and became chief steward during President Ronald Reagan’s second term. He remained in that position for more than three years of the presidency of George H.W. Bush.

Haigh has written a book about his experiences as a steward aboard Air Force One, entitled “Air Force One - An Honor, Privilege, and Pleasure to Serve.”

During a book-signing event Thursday at Girard Free Library, Haigh entertained and informed more than 50 people about some of his experiences - humorous, sad and frightening – that are in his book.

Read what he had to say in Friday's Vindicator or on

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