WW2 Footage Shows Young George Bush Rescued From Certain Death
As America mourns the 41st president, many people have also looked back with respect at the vast number of accomplishments that the elder Bush achieved during his 94 years on earth. His life included moments of great pride: Being chosen by Ronald Reagan as vice president, winning the White House himself, and later watching his own sons succeed in politics.
But there were also harrowing moments of fear. One of the most striking incidents in Bush’s past came during the Second World War, when a flying mission turned deadly and nearly claimed the future president’s life.
At an age when many young people today are partying on college campuses, the 20-year-old Bush was flying TBM Avengers as part of a torpedo squadron in 1944. Every mission was dangerous, but one flight in August of that year would leave a lasting impression on the man.
“During an attack against Chichi Jima, a heavily fortified island that Japanese forces used for communications and supplies, Bush’s aircraft … was hit with anti-aircraft fire,” explained Business Insider. “Bush’s two crewmembers were killed in the attack.”
A third crew member died after his parachute malfunctioned. During his frantic escape, Bush hit his head. He also lost survival rations and paddles for his life raft, meaning almost certain death.
Bush desperately clung to the survival raft, praying the enemy wouldn't find him.
American pilots shot down over Chichi Jima were often cannibalized by the starving Japanese garrison.
While a few friendly fighters circled overhead, they were running dangerously low on fuel.
Finally, an American submarine breached the surface, saving the 20-year-old aviator and changing the course of American history forever.