HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — Melania Trump made history Wednesday by flying in a V-22 Osprey aircraft and onto the deck of an aircraft carrier.
The White House says it's the first time a first lady has flown in an Osprey. The tiltrotor aircraft takes off and lands vertically. Mrs. Trump flew from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington to Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, and onto the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush and back.
She later tweeted about her "incredible flight" and visit with service members.
In Virginia, Mrs. Trump checked out the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet and addressed service members, noting that many had recently returned from deployment. Some had responded to such natural disasters as Hurricane Michael, which devastated some Florida Panhandle communities.
"I'm honored to be able to say welcome home and thank you for answering the call of duty," she said. "I have said this before, but it's worth repeating. We know that we are free because you're brave. And I speak on behalf of my husband when I tell you we are forever grateful for your service."
The first lady exchanged high-fives with elementary schoolchildren and posed for selfies with some of those in military garb. She also spent time with the crew aboard the USS George H.W. Bush and toured part of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named after the former president, who died in November.
In an interview with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity aboard the carrier, Mrs. Trump said the hardest part of being first lady was dealing with "the opportunists who are using my name or my family name to advance themselves — from comedians, to journalists, to performers, book writers."
She said, "The problem is they're writing history and it's not correct."
Mrs. Trump's stops at a pair of military bases Wednesday came during an unusually busy week of public appearances for the first lady.
It was her second day in a row at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. Mrs. Trump visited a different area of the base Tuesday to support an annual toy drive sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
On Thursday, she planned to continue a decades-old tradition of first ladies reading to patients at Children's National hospital in Washington.