Veterans Day Spotlight: George Bush
George Bush graduated from high school on his 18th birthday, June 12, 1942, with World War II raging on two fronts. That same day, although he had been accepted at Yale University, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a seaman second class.
Bush served as a Naval Aviator in World War II, flying Avenger torpedo bombers in the Pacific. He was the youngest Navy pilot in World War II to earn his wings at that time.
Bush was shot down Sept. 2, 1944 during a bombing mission over a Japanese radio station at Chi Chi Jima in the Bonin Islands; Bush’s crew didn’t survive, but he parachuted to safety and was later rescued by the submarine USS Finback. For his service in World War II Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to his carrier the USS San Jacinto.
Photos: U.S. Navy Pilot George Bush in the cockpit of an Avenger, 1942-1945; In Navy Uniform, 1942; Navy Pilot George Bush in VT-51 Avenger, 1944.
On this Veterans Day weekend, and everyday, thank you to all our nation’s veterans!
Have you ever wondered what life was like under German occupation during World War II? This detailed report on economic life in Poland includes information about the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Downed pilot George Bush is rescued by the Navy submarine, USS Finback. 9/2/44.
George Bush flew a TBM Avenger for the United States Navy during World War II.
He joined the Navy on June 12, 1942 when he turned 18. One of his most memorable missions was when George and his crew of two other men were flying over one of the Japanese islands and their plane was badly damaged.
He had to bail out into enemy waters where he was luckily saved by one of the United States’ fast submarines; the USS Finback. He stayed on the sub for a month before returning back to friendly territory.
The Truman Library recently accepted some new objects into their museum collection. The family of Luther Bass, a prisoner of war in the Philippines during World War II, donated this diary and roster kept by Bass while in captivity, first in the Philippines, and then in Japan. In 1973, the Library received a United States flag that the prisoners at that camp made from parachutes that dropped supplies into the camp after its liberation in August 1945.
The flag is currently on exhibit in the Presidential Years gallery of the Truman Library.
General Eisenhower and President Truman en route to the Potsdam Conference
Photo: General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower (foreground, left) chats with President Harry S. Truman (foreground, second from right) and Secretary of State James F. Byrnes (right) at an airfield in Brussels, Belgium en route to Potsdam, Germany for the Potsdam conference. United States Ambassador to Belgium Charles Sawyer is in the background on the left. 7/15/1945.
-from the Truman Library
"I haven’t worried about the weather since June 6, 1944."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
On the 69th anniversary of D-Day, take a moment to listen to Eisenhower deliver the Order of the Day to Allied forces preparing to storm the beaches of Normandy.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Some DYK on JFK’s Birthday—
During World War II, John F. Kennedy joined the Navy. He was made Lieutenant (Lt.) and assigned to the South Pacific as commander of a patrol torpedo boat, the PT-109.
On the night of August 2, 1943, Lt. Kennedy’s crew patrolled the waters looking for enemy ships to sink. A Japanese destroyer suddenly became visible. But it was traveling at full speed and headed straight at them.
Lt. Kennedy was slammed hard against the cockpit, injuring his back. Patrick McMahon, one of his crew members, had horrible burns on his face and hands and was ready to give up. In the darkness,
At sunrise, Lt. Kennedy led his men toward a small island several miles away. Despite his own injuries, Lt. Kennedy was able to tow Patrick McMahon ashore, a strap from McMahon’s life jacket clenched between his teeth.
Six days later two native islanders found them and went for help, delivering a message Jack had carved into a piece of coconut shell.
Photo: Lieutenant John F. Kennedy in the South Pacific, circa 1943
More about JFK in World War II - From the JFK Library
Truman and Stalin, in Color
Another great color photo of President Truman with someone you might not expect – Joseph Stalin.
Truman and Stalin met while attending the Potsdam Conference in Germany in July of 1945, shortly after the end of World War II in Europe.
The Formal End of Japanese American Relocation