Here is a snippet of text from the introduction to Inside The White House: Eyewitness To History…
White House photo by Pete Souza
On the evening of November 30, 1974 I stood quietly in a corner of the Rose Garden holding the president’s Golden Retriever, Liberty, on a short leather leash. Only days before I had accepted the volunteer position of Presidential Dog Trainer.
In the distance I began to hear the drone of a heavy helicopter and then what sounded like one or even two more. Moments later three identical Sikorsky VH 3A “Sea King” helicopters made a right-hand turn around the Washington Monument and began their approach to the South Lawn.
At the last minute the two decoys turned away and the one carrying the president proceeded to land perfectly on three small round pads that had been precisely placed on the grass only minutes before. I was pleased with Liberty’s introduction to the noise and commotion of a helicopter landing…my sole purpose for being there.
The president stepped down from the helicopter and began walking toward the Diplomatic Reception Room…the route he would use to go directly to the White House residence. When he was about halfway between the helicopter and “The House” he noticed me…turned…and began walking directly toward me. I remember thinking “Oh my God…he’s coming over here”!
Although I was in civilian clothes I was, at the time, an E-5 in the United States Army. And, though I had briefly met the First Lady and daughter Susan Ford, I had never met or spoken to the Commander-In-Chief. That was about to change…
As he approached me in the Rose Garden he reached out his hand and with a warm and friendly voice said, “How are you, sir”? With those four simple words, Gerald Ford laid the foundation for a lasting and extraordinary friendship.
The very next day I would unknowingly hang up on the President of the United States…