Carrier Named in Honor of Former President

Monday, December 09, 2002
Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England will name the Navy's tenth Nimitz class aircraft carrier in honor of World War II Naval Aviator and former President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush during a ceremony today at 3 p.m. in the Pentagon Auditorium, room 5A1070. Senator John Warner of Virginia, a former secretary of the Navy himself, will join England and the former president for the event. The future USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is presently under construction at Northrop Grumman's Newport News in Virginia.

Bush's lifetime of service to American began when he joined the Navy on his 18th birthday in 1942 as a seaman. He became the youngest pilot in the Navy at the time when he received his commission and designated a Naval Aviator before his 19th birthday.

Serving in the Navy from August 1942 to September 1945 Bush flew the Avenger Torpedo Bomber in combat from the carrier USS San Jacinto. During an attack on enemy installations near Chichi Jima in September 1944 his plane was hit by enemy fire while making a bombing run. Although the plane was on fire and heavily damaged, he completed a strafing run on the target before bailing out of the doomed aircraft. Bush parachuted into the sea and was soon rescued by a Navy submarine, the USS Finback. Tragically, his two-crew members were killed. During his Navy service in the Pacific during World War II, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. Bush later served in a number of roles for America including the United States Congress, Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to China, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and later as vice president and president of the United States. As commander-in-chief he led the United States and a coalition of 30 nations during the Gulf War that ended Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and liberated the people of the small Persian Gulf nation. At 1,092 ft. in length and 97,000 tons, Nimitz class aircraft carriers are the largest warships in the world. They have a flight deck of 4.5 acres and carry an air wing of approximately 75 aircraft and can travel at speeds in excess of 30 knots. England has also designated Bush's daughter, Mrs. Doro B. Koch for the traditional role of ship's sponsor. USS George H.W. Bush is expected to join the fleet in 2009.

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