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JFK Witnesses Demonstration of Navy Firepower

June 7, 1963 - President Kennedy switched his attention to politics in Los Angeles this evening after two days of learning what a Commander in Chief needs to know about the Navy’s weapons. In 18 hours aboard the aircraft carriers Oriskany (pictured) and Kitty Hawk and a demonstration of Navy firepower at the China Lake Naval Ordnance Testing Station, Mr. Kennedy was given a look at virtually every weapon in the Navy arsenal. The President told some 20,000 persons at the Pacific missile range base at Point Mugu, California: “I am going back to Washington with renewed pride in being an American and renewed confidence in being a citizen of the greatest Republic in the world, guarded by the finest Navy, Army, and Air Force.” On this trip, Mr. Kennedy had his eardrums assaulted with the sound of weapons ranging from 50-millimeter machine guns to Sidewinder missiles, sonic booms from Phantom jets billed by the Navy as the fastest in the world, and public address systems blaring the words of proud Navy briefing officers. Tonight, the President turned to the necessity of being a party leader. He appeared at a dinner of 150 Democrats who are members of the President’s Club of Los Angeles. Late tomorrow, the President will fly to Honolulu for discussions about the race relations problem with a number of the nation’s mayors.


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