Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran and Former President George Herbert Walker Bush.
Bush was born in 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. After the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Naval Reserves to become a naval aviator and join the war effort. Bush received his wings just before turning 19 – making him the youngest commissioned pilot. He soon became a combat pilot serving with the Torpedo Squadron Fifty-One aboard the USS San Jacinto in the North Pacific. The squadron is credited with sinking 17 enemy ships during World War II.
In 1944, his TBM Avenger aircraft was hit by Japanese fire. Despite the severity of the damage, Bush was able to drop the aircraft’s bombs on the target before flying out over water and ejecting with his fellow crew members. After safely parachuting into the water, Bush was later found by an American submarine, the USS Finback. Serving as a lookout with other rescued pilots, he spent 30 days at sea with the Finback’s crew. Bush flew 58 combat missions and is credited with 126 carrier landings and more 1,200 flight hours.
In December 1944, he was assigned to Norfolk Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia, where he trained new combat pilots. Bush was honorably discharged from the Navy in September 1945.
After the war, Bush received an undergraduate degree in economics from Yale University. He became an executive in the oil industry before beginning his political career. He was elected to the U.S.