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President George H.W. Bush (Mezzanine)

When he received his wings as a Naval Aviator in 1943 at the age of 18, George H.W. Bush was at the time of his designation the youngest pilot in the Navy. Flying torpedo bombers off USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), his plane was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and although damaged, he completed his run on the targeted installation before bailing out at sea. He was rescued by the submarine USS Finback (SS-230), and for his service received the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. Following a career in the oil fields of Texas, he went on to serve in an array of government posts culminating with his election as the 41st President of the United States. On display is a portrait of President Bush, along with photos and documents related to his service as a Naval Aviator,and a section of raft signed and stamped via thumbprint by George Bush and other aviators rescued by USS Finback, requested and kept by one of her crewmen, Lieutenant Junior Grade Lawrence Heyworth.

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