Lt. George “Skin” Bush became a naval aviator, commissioned as an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi on June 9, 1943 (just three days before his 19th birthday), which made him the youngest naval aviator the entire United States Navy to that date.
On September 2nd, 1944; Skin was piloting one of four Grumman TBM Avengers of Torpedo Squadron VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichijima. His crew for the mission, included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lt.(jg) William White. During their attack, the Avengers encountered intense anti-a fire; Bush's aircraft was struck by flak and his engine erupted in fire. Despite the spreading flames around his aircraft, “Skin" completed his attack and sucessfully released bombs over his target.
Bush then managed to fly his burning Avenger several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member of the TBM bailed out; unfortunatley the other crew members parachute did not open. Bush waited for four hours in an inflated raft, while several of his squadron mates fighters orbited protectively overhead, until Bush was rescued by the USS Finback Submarine. It was later discovered that several of Bush’s fellow squadron aviators shot down during the attack over the island were executed, and their livers were eaten by their captors.
By the end of WW2, “Skin" flew 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to San Jacinto. "Skin" was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in September 1945, one month after the surrender of Japan.
We are saddened to report that Lt. George “Skin” Bush flew West on November 30th, 2018, aged 94, at his home in Houston
Thank you for your service Lt Bush, fair winds and following seas...