On 9 June 1943, three days before his 19th birthday, George H.W. Bush was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve to make him one of the youngest aviators in US Naval history. Posted to the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), a cruiser converted during construction into a small light carrier, George Bush flew his first combat mission in a raid over Wake Island on 23 May 1944, and continued to serve with distinction until the end of hostilities against Japan.
During that time the man who would later become the 41st President of the United States logged over 1,220 flying hours, made 126 deck landings, flew 58 combat missions and was awarded three Air Medals.
One of those missions was almost his last; on 2 September 1944, during an attack on Japanese radio installations at Chichi- Jima in the Bonin Islands, his aircraft was hit by intense ground fire. In spite of the flames and dense smoke filling the cockpit, George Bush pressed home the attack before guiding his stricken aircraft out over the sea and baling out. Although both his fellow crew members sadly perished, Lieutenant Bush survived in a dinghy and was rescued by the USS Finback, a submarine. For his heroism during the raid he was awarded the Navy’s Distinguished Flying Cross.
This edition was originally sold exclusively through the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. It has been, and remains one of the rarest and most sought after secondary market Robert Taylor prints.
Overall size: 24" x 33"
Signed by President George H. W. Bush plus nine fellow members of his air group
President George H. W. Bush
Leo Nadeau (Bush’s gunner)
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