George Bush named his Avenger after his wife, Barbara

Former US President George Bush was an aviator and had its plane shot down in World War II

Died in 2018, the 41st president of the United States flew by the US Navy and was hit in an attack on the Japanese island

After Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, in 1941, which put the United States in World War II, several young people in the country decided to enlist in the armed forces.

One of them was George Herbert Walker Bush, future president of the United States, who was then only 18 years old and had just graduated from Phillips Academy.

After completing the 10-month course to become a naval aviator, he began his career in the US Navy in 1943 as part of the Torpedo Squadron (VT-51).

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Bush piloted a Grumman TBF Avenger, an attack aircraft based on the aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto.

George Bush as naval aviator (Social media)

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Aircraft hit by Japanese

In 1944, the vessel left for the Pacific Ocean to participate in Task Force 58, which carried out operations on islands such as Wake and the Marianas.

On June 19, Bush’s squadron attacked enemy installations at Chichijima, but upon returning from the mission their aircraft was hit in its engine.

The pilot made a forced landing in the water and managed to survive, unlike the other two crew members, John Delaney and William White.

After his plane was shot down, George Bush was rescued by a submarine (USN)

Other aircraft were also shot down and their occupants captured by the Japanese. According to reports, some ended up being executed and having their livers cannibalized as part of a ritual to “better understand their enemies.”

Bush waited for four hours to be rescued while pilots of other Navy planes sank Japanese speedboats that tried to intercept the survivors.

Finally, the submarine USS Finback managed to rescue the future US president, who was bleeding from a head wound. The rescue was recorded on video.

Grumman TBF Avenger (USN)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Despite the shooting down of his aircraft, Bush recovered and returned to fight aboard the USS Jacinto in November 1944.

At the end of the conflict, aviator George Bush participated in 58 missions, performed 128 aircraft carrier landings and logged 1,228 flight hours. For his bravery, he received four Navy decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The former US president was Grumman TBF Avenger pilot (Social media)

His service in the Navy lasted until September 1945 after a few months as a flight instructor in the USA, although he was only formally discharged in 1955.

The episode of Bush’s shooting was revealed only in 2003 in “Flyboys: a true history of courage”, by researcher James Bradley.

After his military career, George Bush attended Yale and became a businessman until 1963, when he entered politics. As a Republican, he held several positions and was elected vice president on the ticket of Ronald Reaga, who occupied the White House between 1981 and 1988.

He managed to succeed Reagan as the 41st president of the United States, but lost re-election in 1992 to Democrat Bill Clinton.

George H. W. Bush passed away on November 30, 2018 at the age of 94, not before seeing one of his sons, George W. Bush, pursue his career as a pilot and also president of the United States.


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