Retired Air Force One flight attendant remembers George H.W. Bush
OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — We remember the legacy of our 41st President George H.W. Bush. He lived an unforgettable 94 years.
WWAY spoke with one of Bush’s Chief Flight attendants Howie Franklin, who described Bush as a friend.
“An extreme gentlemen, a great role model, everything you heard on the news if you watch any news whatsoever I couldn’t argue with,” said Franklin. “The man was incredible”
Howie Franklin was the Chief Flight Attendant to five U.S. Presidents, including the late George H.W. Bush. While serving on Air Force One, Franklin got to know the president very well. He said part of his job was to provide a professional, comfortable atmosphere for the first family.
“We put the president and first lady to bed, we woke them up in time, we get them ready to walk out the front door and help meet the world press,” said Franklin.
He says he knew exactly what snacks to have on hand for the president.
“What he liked was pig skins, Baby Ruth bars, Klondike bars,” said Franklin. “…and all the presidents I worked for and I worked for 5 of them, liked butter pecan ice cream.”
When they traveled south, Franklin knew to make sure the food on Air Force One had a southern flair.
“He was predictable. Anywhere in the United States that I went that had barbecue , I better had it on the plane and it would be North Carolina barbecue or Texas brisket,” said Franklin.
But, Bush did not like broccoli and went to so far as to prank Franklin about it by staging an allergic reaction.
“Well they saw I was scared by my face and I looked over to James Jackson, the navigator, and he gave me a thumbs up and a smile. I said ‘oh you guys are messing with me. This is a sign of affection’ and the president was in on it,” said Franklin.
He says Bush had a great sense of humor and was an incredible leader.
Franklin says Bush loved to travel and had great energy. He says he traveled more with bush in 6 months than former President Ronald Reagan in 8 years.