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George H.W. Bush rescued by the US Navy after his plane was shot down

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George H.W. Bush
US Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade George Bush is rescued
off the island of Chichi Jima, September 2, 1944.

The Bush Library

  • Prior to his presidency, George H.W. Bush served in the
    US Navy as a pilot and flew on bombing missions against the
    Japanese during World War II.
  • During a bombing attack against a Japanese island,
    Bush’s aircraft was hit with anti-aircraft fire.
  • After releasing his payload, Bush ejected from his
    aircraft and was eventually rescued by a lifeguard
    submarine.

Prior to his presidency, George H.W. Bush
served
in the US Navy as a pilot, and he flew on bombing
missions against the Japanese during World War II.

Bush learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as a teen,
and six months later, on his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the US
Naval Reserve. He went on to become one of the youngest aviators
in the Navy and was assigned a photographic officer with a
torpedo squadron.

During an attack against Chichi Jima, a heavily fortified island
that Japanese forces used for communications and supplies, Bush’s
aircraft, a
TBM Avenger
, was hit with anti-aircraft fire. Bush’s two
crewmembers were killed in the attack.

With the aircraft’s engine on fire, Bush released his payload
against his target, which was a radio tower. He then ejected from
his aircraft, parachuted into the ocean, and waited on an
inflatable raft for four hours. Bush was eventually rescued by
the USS Finback, a lifeguard submarine.

Following Japan’s surrender in 1945, Bush was honorably
discharged from active duty and went on to attend Yale
University.


Bush died at 94
, on Friday night. He is survived by his five
children, 17 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and two
siblings. The White House’s flags were lowered to half staff.

The aircraft carrier USS
George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)
was christened in honor of Bush in
2006.

“His legacy lives on in those who don the cloth of our great
nation and in the mighty warship which bears his name, [CVN 77
George H.W. Bush],” the US Naval Air Forces said in a tweet. “May
he Rest In Peace.”

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