The story behind President George H.W. Bush’s service revolver (PHOTOS)
By Chris Eger
Before he was President, George H.W. Bush was a Navy pilot in WWII and carried a S&W revolver in case he had to bail out. (Photos: U.S. Navy/Constitutional Center)
With the recent passing of the 41st President, the story of the handgun he carried as a young Navy pilot in World War II deserves a look.
Enlisting on his 18th birthday in 1942, the U.S. Navy notes that Bush volunteered for the service just six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was soon accepted into a pilot training program. Before he saw his 19th, Bush was commissioned as one of the youngest naval aviators and soon shipped out for the war in the Pacific on the light aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto.
Bush joined the Navy on his 18th birthday, was a pilot by his 19th, and was shot down just after his 20th. (Photo: U.S. Navy)
Flying a TBF Avenger torpedo bomber, Bush’s aircraft was one of a flight of four assigned to attack Japanese units on the island of Chichijima, about 150 miles north of Iwo Jima. Targeting an important radio station, Bush’s aircraft was hit by ground fire and, his engine aflame, headed out to sea back towards