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President Witness Missile Launch at Vanderberg Air Force Base

Mar. 23, 1962 - President Kennedy witnessed a successful launching of an Atlas-D missile at Vanderberg Air Force Base in California today. Mr. Kennedy watched from a vantage point 6,000 feet away as the slim white missile rose and arched away on a course that took it more than 5,000 miles into the Pacific. Mr. Kennedy’s only recorded comment was: “McHugh is saved.” This was a joking reference to Brig. Gen. Godfrey T. McHugh, the President’s Air Force aide, who had assured him the launch would be successful. At 11 a.m. tomorrow, Mr. Kennedy will meet at Palm Desert with former President Eisenhower. General Eisenhower is on vacation there. The White House described it as a “courtesy call” by Mr. Kennedy.


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