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George H. W. Bush was a Naval Aviator flying a TBM Avenger torpedo bomber off the carrier USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) in the South Pacific.  On this day September 2, 1944 during World War II.  Bush and the squadron of Avengers he was with were conducting a bombing mission when they encountered heavy anti-aircraft fire.  Bush’s plane was hit but he managed to release his bombs before he and his crew members bailed out, sadly one of his crew members, Radioman 2nd Class John Delaney’s chute didn’t open and he perished, substitute gunner Lt. j.g. William White was also killed.  Four hours later a submarine crew rescued the future President.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery in action.  Bush won three Air Medals as well as a Presidential Unit Citation.  Despite his squadron suffering a 300 percent casualty rate among its pilots, Bush flew 58 combat missions during the war.

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