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27 times the Commander-in-Chief visited a combat zone

Generally, American presidents feel an obligation to see situations firsthand when they commit troops to war. To wit, here are 27 times commanders-in-chief left the White House and headed for combat zones:


1. FDR visits Casablanca as Allied forces assault Tripoli, January 1943

Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Casablanca Conference

2. FDR visits the Mediterranean island of Malta to confer with Winston Churchill, February 1945

3. Roosevelt meets Stalin and Churchill at Yalta, February 1945

4. Ike goes to Korea, December 1952

5. LBJ stops in Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam, 1966

(LBJ Library)

6. LBJ returns to Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam, 1967

(LBJ Library)

7. Nixon visits in Saigon, South Vietnam, July 1969

(Nixon Library Photo)

8. Reagan stops at the Korean DMZ for lunch, November 1983

President Reagan in the food line during his trip to the Republic of Korea and a visit to the DMZ Camp Liberty Bell and lunch with the troops (Reagan Library photo)

9. Bush 41 drops in for Thanksgiving with U.S. troops during Desert Shield, 1990

(Bush Library)

10. Clinton with U.S. troops at Camp Casey, South Korea, 1993

(DoD photo)

11. Clinton visits U.S. troops in Bosnia, January 1996

Bill Clinton visiting U.S. troops at Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1996. (DoD photo)

12. Clinton returns to Bosnia in December 1997 to visit NATO and U.S. troops

President Bill Clinton shakes hands with soldiers at the Tuzla Air Field, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Dec. 22, 1997. The president was accompanied by his wife Hillary, their daughter Chelsea, former Senator Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth, for the holiday visit with the troops. (DoD photo by Spc. Richard L. Branham, U.S. Army)

13. Bush 43 grabs chow with the troops in South Korea, 2002

(White House Photo)

14. Bush 43 surprises troops in Iraq, November 2003

President George W. Bush pays a surprise visit to Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). He gives an uplifting speech at the Bob Hope dining facility on Thanksgiving Day to all the troops stationed there. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon)

15. Bush 43 returns to South Korea, Osan Air Base, 2005

16. Bush 43 visits Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, March 2006

President George Bush shakes hands with Sgt. Derek Kessler, 10th Mountain Division Headquarters Company driver. (U.S. Army photo)

17. Bush 43 visits troops in Baghdad, June 2006

(White House photo)

18. Bush 43 visits Al-Anbar province, Iraq, September 2007

President Bush: Visit Regimental Combat Team-2, Marine Wing Support Combat Patrol. Al Asad Airbase, Al Anbar Province, Iraq (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

19. Bush 43 returns to South Korea, August 2008

20. Bush 43 makes one last stop in Iraq, December 2008

21. Obama stops in Iraq to see the troops, April 2009

(White House photo)

22. Obama stops into Osan Air Base, South Korea, November 2009

23. Obama makes his first stop at Bagram Air Base, December 2010

(U.S. Army photo)

24. Obama visits the DMZ, South Korea, March 2012

(White House photo)

25. Obama makes his second trip to Afghanistan, May 2012

President Barack Obama greets U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field after a surprise visit to Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

26. Obama visits Yongsan Garrison, South Korea 2014

27. Obama makes what could be his last trip to Afghanistan, May 2014