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(White House-AP) -- From an aircraft carrier off the California coast, President Bush will declare Thursday that major combat in Iraq is finished.
Getting to his destination will be something of a first. The president will be landing on one of the country's biggest warships on one of the smallest aircraft used for presidential flights.
Bush will arrive on the U-S-S "Abraham Lincoln" aircraft carrier Thursday night aboard a small Navy plane that needs a cable to help it land. The Lincoln is too far offshore to use a helicopter.
Bush will spend the night on the ship and leave in the morning -- this time by helicopter -- before it arrives in San Diego.
Bush joked about the landing on the carrier during a picture-taking session in the Oval Office with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
The president asked a reporter, "Are you going to be there?" then added, "Let me just say, stay clear of the landing pattern."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)