DOUGLAS VC-118 (DC-6) “INDEPENDENCE”
After Harry Truman assumed the office of the President, it was determined that a more high performance aircraft would be in order so on July 4, 1947, a new Douglas VC-118 (DC-6) transport was commissioned as the Presidential aircraft. It was called the “Independence” in honor of Truman’s hometown. This aircraft was a big improvement over the previous C-54C. It was equipped with a pressurized cabin, could fly higher and faster and for longer distances than the C-54C. It also had a state room for the President and seating for 24 or sleeper berths for 12. This airplane was being built by Douglas for American Airlines when the USAF took it over. It had already been painted with an experimental paint scheme designed for American with the stylized eagle’s head on the front of the airplane. The USAF decided to keep the elaborate paint on the aircraft. One of “The Independence’s” most historic trips was when it carried President Truman to Wake Island in 1950 to have his meeting with Gen. Douglas MacArthur regarding the Korean War.