In a series of military events this week, the first lady has been greeting service-members, volunteering with Marines, and, as it turns out, taking a joyride in a military aircraft. Melania Trump's visit to the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier on Wednesday was historic for how she traveled to the site. According to CNN, Melania is the first ever first lady to fly in an Osprey V-22.
The Osprey is sort of a hybrid military aircraft that can make long-range flights like a plane, but also take off from a standstill with rotors similar to a helicopter's. Trump tweeted a video from inside the aircraft after taking off from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington D.C., flying over the Virginia coast and the Atlantic Ocean.
"We are off to visit some of our brave men & women in uniform today & thank them for their service," she wrote, mentioning that she would also be stopping at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, as well as the USS George H.W. Bush.
According to Military Times, first ladies typically don't make helicopter trips by themselves. When they do fly by helicopter, the outlet reports, it's usually alongside the president and aboard Marine One (an actual helicopter, not a hybrid aircraft like the Osprey).
Landing at Langley-Eustice, the first lady greeted elementary school children and posed for photos with service members. "When preparing for this stop, I learned that this base is more than 100 years old, and has a long history of excellence," Trump said in a speech to hundreds of military members at the base, according to CNN. "I also learned that the airmen and soldiers in this room have stepped up after natural disasters, like Hurricane Michael, and that many of you have recently returned home from deployment. I am honored to be able to say welcome home and thank you for answering the call of duty."
The first lady participated in a Toys for Tots donation drive while at one of the military bases, packaging gifts and Christmas cards for children alongside Marines. "I have been looking forward to this event ever since last year's ended," Trump told the Marine Corps Times at the event. "As a mother, I feel children are the most precious gift of all. They provide so much joy in life." Last Friday, she participated in a different holiday charity — a tradition for first ladies — visiting the Children's National Hospital in Washington D.C. to read to children who might not be at home for the holidays.
Fox News host Sean Hannity joined Trump for some of her events on Wednesday, and the two sat down for a rare one-on-one interview aboard the USS George H.W. Bush. "It’s very important that we support [service members]" she told Hannity, explaining why she was spending the day with military members and their families. "Holidays are coming, not many of them, they will be with their families so for me it’s very important to show them that the president and I and the country, we are behind them."