All you ever wanted to know about Air Force One and more.
Personal experiences with passengers aboard Air Force One.
Developing, sustaining and the future of General Aviation Airports
"Howie was fabulous. The audience was spellbound and asked many questions. As always, you always know the right person for the job! Thanks again"
Karen Griggs, National Aircraft Finance Association.
"Howie was outstanding at our conference. Both his Air Force One and GA Airports programs couldn't have been better."
Mike Hainsey, President , Mississippi Airports Association.
Howie got two thumbs up at the Virginia Aviation Conference.
"Howie was great. His AF-1 talk was fascinating. He had many insider stories on the five presidents. His enthusiastic airport talk addressed some interesting issues, and started with a great video of him working as airport manager."
John Millings, Ohio Aviation Association
"After he did his Air Force One talk at the first banquet (to rave reviews) we took him to the hospitality suite afterward where he told more stories until 3 a.m. They loved him."
Sandi Decker, Nebraska Aviation Conference
Inspiration, humor, Historical, Management, Teamwork
“I’d love to hear the rest of your stories,” said Al Roker during a recent interview with Howie Franklin on the Today Show. Former press secretary to Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Marlin Fitzwater, said, “Howie knows all of your inner secrets (on Air Force One), when you can’t take the pressure, when you’re tired and crying and sleeping on the floor. The perception on the outside is always different from the inside.”
When he was promoted to the crew of Air Force One in 1976, it was on the tail end of the Ford administration. He was told not to get attached–a change in presidents could mean a switch in crew.
But “he survived a lot of administrations because he gave good service with a smile, he was dedicated and trustworthy, he did his job without criticism and without complaint,” says Marlin Fitzwater who traveled on Air Force One for the better part of 10 years.
Fitzwater says it’s rare for someone to work on Air Force One and never step on toes: “When traveling with such close proximity to a bunch of egos, it is pretty easy to get crossways with somebody. Howie never did.” Simply put, “Howie was a joy to be around.”
Howie’s pre-teenage years were spent at Ocean Beach, Fire Island. He remembers it as a wonderful time when he was surrounded by and it was common for him to see Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio (who he also met later on Air Force One), Mike Wallace and Buff Todd, Dave Garroway and many others. He learned a startling fact; famous people were just human.
Franklin spent four teenage years waiting on the jet-set crowd at ritzy Talisman Yacht Club on Fire Island, NY. White House types were modest by comparison. “That job gave me an edge,” Franklin says. “It prepared me.” He worked for people like Ahmed Erdigan, President of Atlantic Record Company; Leonard Holzer, a Manhattan developer; Carol Channing, Bill Cullen, Victor Lowns, former New York Playboy Club Manager, Happy Rockefeller, before she was Happy Rockefeller and many others.
The son of a New York-area marina and deli owner, Franklin enlisted in the Air Force at age 20 with a single aspiration: to see the world. It’s easier for him to name the places he hasn’t been rather than reel off an exhaustive list of journeys. Maybe some small countries in central Africa.
He began in 1965 preparing meals for B-52 flight crews in Guam. At various career stops, he cooked for and served generals, secretaries of defense, secretaries of state, and heads of state.
Howie is the only Flight Steward who worked for five US Presidents: Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. He also flew extensively with Dr. Kissinger, Secretary of State, on his Shuttle Diplomacy Missions during the Nixon and Ford administrations.
Howie spent 29 years in the United States Air Force, reached the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, 24 years at Andrews Air Force Base in Special Missions Operations, including 18 years on Air Force One. Howie has over 300 stories of his memories of working around Presidents, First Ladies, Vice Presidents, Cabinet Secretaries, VIP guests and U.S. press corps.
Currently, Howie serves as Vice President of the North Carolina Aviation Association and is the Director of Brunswick County Airport in southeastern North Carolina, the last place, going north, on the east coast where palm trees grow wild. The airport was coined by the Atlantic Flyer periodical, “The Little Airport with the Big Heart.”
YES SIR! Mr. PRESIDENT
When Bill Clinton was elected president, that meant Howie Franklin made history. He became the first U.S. Air Force flight attendant to serve five U.S. presidents aboard Air Force One. From his days serving the rich and famous as a young man on Fire Island in New York to working his way up the Air Force ladder to become an Air Force flight attendant on the president's plane, this is Howie's amazing story. In an attempt to avoid being drafted into the Army during the Viet Nam War Howie signed up for the Air Force to work in food service. He was counting the days until his time was up when he was offered the chance to work as a flight attendant. He became a world-traveler working on flights with high-ranking military officials and government leaders, including Dr. Henry Kissinger during his famous shuttle diplomacy days. Before he knew it, he was part of the famous 89th Wing and working aboard Air Force One. You feel as if you're riding along on presidential missions and experience the behind-the-scenes life aboard the plane carrying the leader of the free world.