|Pilot Lt(jg) George H. W. Bush (rescued)
Gunner Lt(jg) William G. White, O-210562 (MIA / KIA)
Radio ARM2C John L. Delaney, 2049043 (MIA / KIA)
Ditched September 2, 1944
Built by Grumman. Assigned to the United States Navy (USN) to the USS San Jacinto to VT-51.
Tail number 2x. No nose art or nickname.
For this mission his crew included
John Delaney, substituted for Bush's regular gunner, Leo
Nadeau. One of four Avengers armed with four 500 lbs bombs from VT-51 that took off from USS San Jacinto on a bombing mission against a radio installation on Chi
Chi Jima. Over the target, the Avengers encountered intense
anti-aircraft fire. Starting the attack, Bush's aircraft was hit
and his engine caught on fire. He released
his bombs over his target scoring several damaging hits. With his engine
on fire, Bush flew several miles away from the island, where he and one other
crew member bailed out of the aircraft. However,
the other man's chute did not open and he fell to his death. It was
never determined which man bailed (Delaney or White) and both were declared missing in action.
Rescue at Sea
Landing in the sea, Bush deployed his life raft and waited four hours while friendly fighters
circled protectively overhead. Rescued by the lifeguard
submarine, USS Finback (SS-230). For this action, Bush received the Distinguished
Flying Cross. During rest of the month, he remained on Finback while
it rescued other pilots.
Delaney and White were officially declared dead on September 3, 1945. Both are memorialized at the court of the missing at Honolulu Memorial (Punchbowl).
Navy Historical Center - Lt(jg) George Bush, USNR
Navy Historical Center - Vice President Bush Calls World War II Expereince "Sobering"
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June 20, 2012