Namesake: USS George H.W. Bush (CVN) 77
President George H.W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush, born in Milton, Mass., the 41st
President of the United States, began a distinguished military career in
On his 18th birthday, June 12, 1942, the young Bush graduated from
Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a
Seaman 2nd Class. Less than one year later he became the youngest
pilot in Naval history when he received his wings and commission. Ensign Bush flew the
Grumman TBF Avenger, a three-man torpedo/bomber off the USS SAN JACINTO (CVL 30) from
August 1942 to September 1945 during World War II. On September 2, 1944, while flying a mission
over the Bonin Island of Chichi Jima, 600 miles south of Japan, he was hit by antiaircraft fire.
Although his plane was severely damaged, he completed the strafing run on the targeted Japanese
installation before being forced to bail out over the sea. He was rescued by the submarine
USS Finback after a short time adrift. His two crew members were lost.
He flew a total of 58 missions, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals
for his courageous service in the Pacific Theater.
In December of 1944, Bush returned home on leave and, two weeks later, on January 6, 1945,
married Barbara Pierce of Rye, New York, whom he met in 1941 while still a student at Phillips Academy.
They settled in Midland, Texas, and became the parents of five children: George, John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin,
and Dorothy. Their second child, Robin, died very young from leukemia.
Following World War II, Bush attended Yale University, where he pursued a degree in economics and served
as captain of the varsity baseball team. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1948.
Bush has held numerous leadership positions over the years: He served two terms as Representative to
Congress from Texas; served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; chairman of the Republican National
Committee; chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China; and director of the Central Intelligence
In 1980, Ronald Reagan selected George H.W. Bush to be his running mate. Bush was sworn in for the first of two
terms as Vice President of the United States on January 29, 1981.
He served as United States President from 1989 to 1993, facing a changing world with the passing of the Cold War.
His greatest challenge came when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and threatened to move into
Saudi Arabia. Vowing to free Kuwait, President Bush marshaled a 30-nation coalition and successfully opposed Iraq’s
invasion of Kuwait.
After leaving office, Bush and his wife settled in West Oaks, Houston. In his retirement, Bush used the public spotlight
to support various charities.
On January 10, 2009, Bush attended the commissioning ceremony of the U.S. Navy ship named after him,
the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
Bush passed away on November 20, 2018 at the age of 94 and is survived by his five children, 17 grandchildren,
and four great-grandchildren.