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This is false. At least two former first ladies — Michelle Obama and Laura Bush — have visited U.S. troops in designated combat zones since first lady Pat Nixon went to South Vietnam in 1969.
Michelle Obama visited troops in 2015 in Qatar, and Laura Bush made trips to Afghanistan in 2005 and 2008.
A Facebook post claims that Melania Trump is the first president’s wife to visit troops in a combat zone since 1969.
That’s not true. At least two former first ladies have traveled to greet U.S. troops in designated combat zones since then.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
There is no record of any first lady traveling to an area under an active attack.
The IRS defines "combat zone" as a general term that "includes all of the following hostile areas where military may serve: actual combat areas, direct combat support areas, and qualified hazardous duty areas. With respect to deadline extensions, the term ‘combat zone(s)’ includes contingency operations areas."
First lady Melania Trump traveled with President Donald Trump to Al Asad Airbase in Iraq in a surprise visit to troops on Dec. 26, 2018.
Pat Nixon accompanied President Richard Nixon to visit troops in South Vietnam in 1969, the Associated Press reported.
Hillary Clinton visited Bosnia as first lady in 1996, the trip implicated in her Pants on Fire claim that her plane landed under "sniper fire." But it was considered a "hostile area," and not a combat zone, the AP reported.
The Facebook claim about the historical significance of Melania Trump’s trip is False.
Facebook post, Aug. 27, 2020
IRS, Combat Zones Approved for Tax Benefits, Last updated Feb. 18, 2020
Military Times, President Trump, first lady make surprise Iraq visit, Dec. 26, 2018
Defense.gov, First Lady Visits, Praises Troops at Al Udeid Air Base, Nov. 3, 2015
Associated Press, Melania Trump not first FLOTUS to visit combat zone since 1969, May 30, 2019
BushCenter.org, The 15th Anniversary of Mrs. Laura Bush's Historic Trip to Afghanistan, May 7, 2020
Defense.gov archive, First Lady Visits Troops in Afghanistan, June 9, 2008
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