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  TBM-1C Avenger Bureau Number 46214 Tail 2x
USN
VT-51

Click For Enlargement
1944

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

Aircraft History
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.

Mission History
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.

Memorials
Delaney and White were officially declared dead on September 3, 1945. Both are memorialized at the court of the missing at Honolulu Memorial (Punchbowl).

References
Navy Historical Center - Lt(jg) George Bush, USNR
Navy Historical Center - Vice President Bush Calls World War II Expereince "Sobering"

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Last Updated
June 20, 2012

 

Tech Info
Avenger

MIA
MIA
2 Missing

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