George H.W. Bush Naval Institute Interview on World War II Service

By U.S. Naval Institute's Americans at War Series

The following is a 2007 interview with former President George H. W. Bush for the U.S. Naval Institute’s Americans At War series.

Bush reflects on his 1944 bombing mission in World War II that resulted in the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The citation reads: “For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron FIFTY ONE, attached to the U.S.S. San Jacinto, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Bonin Islands, on September 2, 1944.

“Leading one section of a four-plane division in a strike against a radio station, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Bush pressed home an attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire.

“Although his plane was hit and set afire at the beginning of his dive, he continued his plunge toward the target and succeeded in scoring damaging bomb hits before bailing out of the craft. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Reserve.”

SLD and’s Ed Timperlake and colleagues talking with President Bush about their experiences as naval aviators at a dinner at the Union League Club.