George Herbert Walker Bush was born at 173 Adams Street in Milton, Massachusetts on June 12th, 1924 to Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy (Walker) Bush. The Bush family moved from Milton to Greenwich, Connecticut shortly after his birth. Bush was named after his maternal grandfather George Herbert Walker, who was known as “Pop”, and young Bush was called “Poppy” as a tribute to his namesake.
Bush began his formal education at the Greenwich Country Day School, then attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts beginning in 1938, where he held a number of leadership positions which included president of the senior class, secretary of the student council, president of the community fund-raising group, a member of the editorial board of the school newspaper, and captain of the varsity baseball and soccer teams.
Six months after the United States entered World War II following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Bush enlisted in the U.S. Navy immediately after he graduated from Phillips Academy on his 18th birthday. He became a naval aviator, taking training for aircraft carrier operations aboard USS Sable.
After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the Naval Reserve at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi on June 9th, 1943, just three days before his 19th birthday, which made him one of the youngest aviators in the Navy.
In September 1943, he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron 51 (VT-51) as the photographic officer. The following year, his squadron was based in USS San Jacinto as a member of Air Group 51, where his lanky physique earned him the nickname “Skin”. During this time, the task force was victorious at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, one of the largest air battles of World War II.
Bush was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on August 1st, 1944, and San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. He piloted one of the four Grumman TBM Avengers of VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichijima (see below) on September 2nd, 1944. His crew included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lt. William White. His aircraft was hit by flak during the attack, but Bush successfully released bombs and scored several hits. With his engine ablaze, he flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member bailed out; the other man’s parachute did not open. Bush spent four hours in an inflated raft, protected by fighter aircraft circling above, until the submarine USS Finback came to his rescue. He remained in Finback for the next month and participated in the rescue of other aviators. Several of those shot down during the attack were executed, and their livers were eaten by their captors. This experience shaped Bush profoundly, leading him to ask, “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?”
In November 1944, Bush returned to San Jacinto and participated in operations in the Philippines until his squadron was replaced and sent home to the United States. By 1944 he had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to San Jacinto. He was then reassigned to a training wing for torpedo bomber crews at Norfolk Navy Base, Virginia. His final assignment was to the new torpedo squadron VT-153 based at Naval Air Station Grosse Ile, Michigan. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in September 1945, one month after the surrender of Japan.
Nine airmen escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles (1,100 km) south of Tokyo, in September 1944. Eight were captured. The ninth, the only one to evade capture, was future US President George H. W. Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot.
After the war, it was discovered that the captured airmen had been beaten and tortured before being executed. The airmen were beheaded on the orders of Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana. American authorities reported that Japanese officers then ate parts of the bodies of four of the men.
Tachibana, alongside 11 other Japanese personnel, was tried in August 1946 in relation to the execution of U.S. Navy airmen, and the cannibalism of at least one of them, during August 1944. Because military and international law did not specifically deal with cannibalism, they were tried for murder and “prevention of honorable burial”.
This case was investigated in 1947 in a war crimes trial, and of 30 Japanese soldiers prosecuted, five (Maj. Matoba, Gen. Tachibana, Adm. Mori, Capt. Yoshii, and Dr. Teraki) were found guilty. Tachibana was sentenced to death, and hanged.
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
This is a non-fiction book by writer James Bradley,whose father was among the marines later photographed raising the flag over the island of Iwo Jima, and a national bestseller in the U.S. This book details a World War II incident of the execution and cannibalism of five of eight American P.O.W.s on the Pacific island of Chichi-jima, one of the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands).
The book describes the backgrounds of several American airmen who flew raids over Japan during World War II, and includes interviews with Japanese veterans of the conflict. It describes an air raid in which ten crewmen survived being shot down, with nine captured and subsequently killed and cannibalised by their captors. Bradley claims that this included not only ritual cannibalization of the livers of freshly killed prisoners, but also the cannibalization-for-sustenance of living prisoners over the course of several days, amputating limbs only as needed to keep the meat fresh. The tenth crewman, future US president Lieutenant George H. W. Bush, was not captured.
” Lt George Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot, was among nine airmen who escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles south of Tokyo, in September 1944 – and was the only one to evade capture by the Japanese.
The horrific fate of the other eight “flyboys” was established in subsequent war crimes trials on the island of Guam, but details were sealed in top secret files in Washington to spare their families distress.
The book, Flyboys, is the result of historical detective work by James Bradley, whose father was among the marines later photographed raising the flag over the island of Iwo Jima.
Mr Bradley has established that they were tortured, beaten and then executed, either by beheading with swords or by multiple stab-wounds from bayonets and sharpened bamboo stakes. Four were then butchered by the island garrison’s surgeons and their livers and meat from their thighs eaten by senior Japanese officers.
The future president escaped a similar fate because he ditched his plane further from the island than the other crews, and managed to scramble on to a liferaft. American planes launched a hail of fire at Japanese boats which set out to capture him, driving them back, and he was eventually rescued by a US submarine.
When the black hull of the USS Finback surfaced in front of him, he thought he was hallucinating, he told Mr Bradley in a television film made to coincide with the publication of Flyboys. He had been vomiting, bleeding from a head wound, and weeping with fear. He said only four words to his rescuers: “Happy to be aboard.”
Mr Bush’s part in the raid – for which he won the Distinguished Flying Cross – has long been known to Americans. Not known until recently was the grim fate of his downed comrades – none from his own plane – who swam ashore.
Mr Bradley pieced together the horrific truth from secret transcripts of the war crimes trials, given to him by a former officer and lawyer who was an official witness at the time, and the testimony of surviving Japanese veterans.
A radio operator, Marve Mershon, was marched to a freshly dug grave, blindfolded, and made to kneel for beheading by sword, testified a Japanese soldier, named as Iwakawa, at the war crimes trial. “When the flyer was struck, he did not cry out, but made a slight groan.”
The next day a Japanese officer, Major Sueo Matoba, decided to include American flesh in a sake-fuelled feast he laid on for officers including the commander-in-chief on the island, Gen Yoshio Tachibana. Both men were later tried and executed for war crimes.
A Japanese medical orderly who helped the surgeon prepare the ingredients said: “Dr Teraki cut open the chest and took out the liver. I removed a piece of flesh from the flyer’s thigh, weighing about six pounds and measuring four inches wide, about a foot long.”
Another crewman, Floyd Hall, met a similar fate. Adml Kinizo Mori, the senior naval officer on Chichi Jima, told the court that Major Matoba brought “a delicacy” to a party at his quarters – a specially prepared dish of Floyd Hall’s liver.
According to Adml Mori, Matoba told him: “I had it pierced with bamboo sticks and cooked with soy sauce and vegetables.” They ate it in “very small pieces”, believing it “good medicine for the stomach”, the admiral recalled.
A third victim of cannibalism, Jimmy Dye, had been put to work as a translator when, several weeks later, Capt Shizuo Yoshii – who was later tried and executed – called for his liver to be served at a party for fellow officers. Parts of a fourth airman, Warren Earl Vaughn, were also eaten and the remaining four were executed, one by being clubbed to death.
The parents of all the airmen are now dead, but Mr Bradley contacted all their families. “The first reaction was a stunned silence, a hush. But I think that at last knowing how these men died, however horrible their deaths, has allowed closure and in a word I heard from them, healing,” he said.
Mr Bush’s first reaction was also to say nothing. “There was a lot of head-shaking, a lot of silence,” the author said. “There was no disgust, shock or horror. He’s a veteran of a different generation.”
The former president returned to Chichi Jima with Mr Bradley for the first time since his rescue for a CNN documentary broadcast. Mr Bush looked sombre but never visibly upset, and ventured into the water in a modern life raft to re-create his experience.
He recalled that while on the submarine he asked himself why he had survived. “Why had I been spared and what did God have in store for me? In my own view there’s got to be some kind of destiny and I was being spared for something on Earth.” Earlier he had told Mr Bradley: “I think about those guys all the time.”
Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale Grumman TBM-1C Avenger “Barbara III” White 2 of VT-51, USS San Jacinto, 1944 Lt G Bush
Hobbymaster’s 1/72nd scale Grumman TBM-1C Avenger “Barbara III” is available to pre-order from Flying Tigers. Please click on the image or linka above or below to go straight to the model page to order.
Hobbymaster Photo Gallery Updates
Check out the latest updated model photo gallery on pre-order Hobbymaster models. Please click on the images / links below to go to the model of your choice, or CLICK HERE to see them all in the Future Releases section.
Gemini Jets 1/200th scale New Model Announcements.
Check out the latest Gemini Jets 1/200th scale new model announcements which are now available to pre-order from Flying Tigers. Please click on the images below to go straight to the model of your choice or CLICK HERE to see all the Gemini Jets 1/200th scale military models available. All the latest Gemini Jets 1/200th scale civilian models can be seen by CLICKING HERE .
Gemini Jets 1/400th scale New model Announcements
Check out the latest Gemini Jets 1/400th scale new model announcements which are now available to pre-order from Flying Tigers. Please click on the images below to go straight to the model of your choice or CLICK HERE to see all the Gemini Jets 1/400th scale civilian models available.
InFlight 200 BOAC / BEA 100 Year Anniversary Special Model Releases.
InFlight 200 have announced a special anniversary BEA model which is expected to be released within the first quarter of 2019. The model is a 1/200 Britsh Airways/BEA A319 G-EUPJ 100 Year Anniversary with stand.
Monday 4th March was a historical day for British Airways when Airbus A319 G-EUPJ arrived at London Heathrow Airport from Dublin newly painted in the livery of BEA “British European Airways’. This year “2019” marks the lineage centenary of British Airways, and to celebrate this the airline are painting some aircraft up into retro schemes. This aircraft G-EUPJ was delivered to British Airways in May 2000 and has served the airline well ever since.
This limited edition 1/200 scale metal model aircraft comes with a special BEA stand, collectors’ card and centenary sleeve.
Please be aware that this model is limited so please do not delay in ordering.
InFlight 200 have announced a new release which is expected to be released within the first quarter of 2019. The model is a 1/200th scale BOAC/Britsh Airways 747-400 100 Year Anniversary with stand.
Monday 18th February was a historical day for British Airways when Boeing 747-436 G-BYGC arrived at London Heathrow Airport from Dublin newly painted in the livery of BOAC “British Overseas Airways Corporation”. This year “2019” marks the lineage centenary of British Airways and to celebrate this the airline are painting some aircraft into the retro schemes. This aircraft G-BYGC was delivered to British Airways in January 1999 and has served the airline well ever since. The BOAC livery applied to Golf Charlie was previously worn by Boeing 747 series 100s in 1969 to 1974, a truly golden age in aviation. The prototype Boeing 747 flew for the first time in February 1969 thus making this a double celebration for Boeing and British Airways.
This limited edition 1/200 scale metal model aircraft comes with a special speedbird stand, collectors’ card and centenary sleeve.
Please be aware that this model is limited so please do not delay in ordering.
That’s all for this week.
Thank you for reading this week’s Newsletter.