George H W shrub was no the very first US president to have seen active service in wartime. Yet he was distinct in having his exploits recorded on film after ditching his aircraft in the Pacific in 1944.

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A number of presidents have seen the challenge of battle. George Washington, the American colonies' commander-in-chief during the battle of Independence, famously led his troops throughout the Delaware flow in the bows the a rowing boat.

Besides this, both Ulysses S Grant and Dwight D Eisenhower commanded united state forces and also Teddy Roosevelt led the unstable Riders together they fee up mountain Juan Hill during the Spanish American War.

And john F Kennedy directed the crew the his motorboat to safety and security after it was rammed and also sunk by a Japanese destroyer in the Pacific during civilization War II.

During the very same conflict, in another component of that vast ocean, a 20 year-old us Navy aviator to be winning self the distinguished Flying Cross. George Herbert Walker bush would later describe his experience of war as "sobering".

Bush enlisted in the marine on 13 June 1942, the day after his 18th birthday. The Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor had happened 6 months earlier and also he had just i graduated from the exclude, Andover College.

After completing 10 month of pre-flight training at the university of north Carolina, George shrub was commissioned as one ensign in the us Naval reserve on 9 June 1943. That was, in ~ the time, the youngest pilot in the us Navy.

Image source, Reuters

Three months later he to be posted to the Pacific as a photographic officer with Torpedo Squadron VT-51, prior to moving to the light plane carrier, USS san Jacinto, in the spring of 1944.

Bush's relocate to the carrier corresponded with one of the bloodiest campaigns of the war. As Japanese pressures were rolled back across the north Pacific, us troops had actually to "island hop" their means forward, often sustaining large losses in the process.

After seeing activity in the Marcus and Wake islands, shrub was involved in one of the biggest air battles of the whole war over the Marianas archipelago in June 1944.

On 19 June, the US job force ultimately won the end over the tenacious Japanese. Returning from the mission, he had actually to do a compelled landing on water.

He and also his crew to be rescued through the destroyer, USS Clarence K Bronson, losing their plane in the process. And, six days later, Bush and also another pilot were attributed with sinking a small cargo ship.

On 1 august 1944 bush was promoted to Lieutenant small Grade as the USS mountain Jacinto commenced operations versus the Japanese in the Bonin Islands, 600 mile south-west that Japan.

On 2 September 1944, bush piloted one of four Avenger irradiate bombers which were to assault a Japanese radio terminal on the island the Chi Chi Jima.

Image source, US national Archives

During your attack, the 4 aircraft encountered intense anti-aircraft fire. While beginning his battle run, Bush's plane was hit and also his engine captured fire.

He completed his attack and also released the bombs, hitting and damaging the target. "We to be trained to complete our runs no issue what the obstacle," he later on commented.

The aircraft, though, to be severely damaged and, v its engine blazing, Lieutenant bush flew several miles out to sea before he and also one crew member bailed out.

Unfortunately, this man passed away after his parachute failed come open. The 3rd member that the crew was additionally lost.

Bush landing in the sea and waited for 4 hours in an blow up life-raft, while numerous US fighter aircraft circled protectively overhead, before being rescued by the lifeguard submarine, USS Finback.

As he later quipped: "I witnessed this point coming the end of the water and also I stated to myself, 'Jeez, ns hope it's among ours.'"

The rescue to be filmed through the submarine's sub-lieutenant and featured in a variety of Bush's political campaigns. His enemies often criticised the move but his campaign teams always gave your blessing to the usage of the footage.

Image source, us Navy

For his part in this action, bush received among his country's highest awards, the DFC. He stayed on the USS Finback because that a month, throughout which the submarine come under repeated assault from Japanese destroyers, and also helped come rescue a variety of other pilots.

Bush went back to the san Jacinto in November 1944 and saw action over the Philippines. In ~ months, though, Bush's squadron, fifty percent of who pilots had become casualties, went back to the joined States.

During his short and sharp war, George shrub flew 58 combat goals and, besides the DFC, obtained three air Medals and also the Presidential Unit quote awarded come the USS mountain Jacinto.

Bush himself ended up being a trip instructor prior to being honourably discharged from energetic duty in September 1945.

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Though he had actually not served for a decade, bush finally officially resigned from the united state Navy in 1955. By then, after having actually graduated from Yale, he had currently become a effective Texas oilman with political aspirations.