In the backdrop of post-9/11 War on Terror, former US President George Bush had made a daring ‘arrested landing’ in a S-3 Viking antisubmarine warfare plane onto an aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, screeching his hooked plane in a growling and heart-thumping halt.
The President popped out of ‘NAVY ONE’ with an insignia of a menacingly smiling wolf (‘Blue Wolves’ squadron) on its tail, swaggered on the warship deck with a de rigueur cranial helmet on his hips, Texan grin, Ray Bans and the overall suggestion of the classic wind blowing through sweaty hair with the burnt jet fuel hanging in the air – the Top Gun-look was further reiterated with buddy thumbs-up, high-fives, pat on backs and posing at rakish angles!
How Even US Combatant-Presidents Like Bush Didn’t Appropriate The Uniform
The President could have conveniently helicoptered his journey, but that wouldn’t have been as dramatic, raucous or whoopy an image, especially given the controversial ‘mission accomplished’ moment that was controversially captured for posterity.
But importantly, George Bush was not wearing a Naval Aviation ‘Uniform’ but a regular flight-suit, even though George Bush was a veteran of the Air Force Reserve, having drilled with F-102 fighter planes during service with the Air National Guard.
His deliberate restraint in avoiding wearing the ‘uniform’, especially when the US Constitution (Article II, section 2) specifies the most solemn role, ‘The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several states, when called into the actual Service of the United States’, was in conformity with the traditional reverence of avoiding appropriating the ‘uniform’, by earlier Combatant-Presidents.