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President George H. W. Bush

George Bush was the 41st President of the United States (1989-93), 43rd Vice President of the United States, under President Ronald Reagan (1981-89), and the father of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and President George W. Bush.

He also served as a pilot in the United States Navy (1942-45) during World War II, was a U.S. Congressman (1967-71), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1971-72), Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973-74), Chief United States liaison officer to the People's Republic of China (1974-76), and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1976-77).

President George Bush
President George Bush

Eisenhower and a youthful Bush
Eisenhower and a youthful Bush
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: George Herbert Walker Bush

Date, time and place of birth: June 12, 1924, at 173 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Date, place and cause of death: (Alive as of 2012)

Spouse: Barbara Pierce (m. January 6, 1945 - present)
Wedding took place at the First Presbyterian Church, Rye, New York, U.S.A.*

Siblings: Prescott Sheldon "Pres" Bush, Jr. (b. August 10, 1922 - June 2010)
Jonathan James Bush (b. May 6, 1931)
William Henry Trotter "Buck" Bush (b. July 14, 1938, Greenwich, Connecticut) (brothers)

Sister: Nancy Walker Bush (b. February 3, 1926)

Sons: George Walker Bush (b. July 6, 1946, at 7:26 a.m., New Haven, Connecticut),
John Ellis Bush (known as Jeb Bush) (b. February 11, 1953, Midland, Texas)
Neil Mallon Bush (b. January 22, 1955, Midland, Texas)
Marvin Pierce Bush (b. October 22, 1956)

Daughters: Pauline Robinson "Robin" Bush (b. the evening of December 20, 1949, St. Francis Hospital, Lynwood, California - d. October 11, 1953, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, New York City, New York, of leukemia)
Dorothy Walker Bush (known as Doro Bush) (b. August 18, 1959)

Father: Prescott Sheldon Bush (a U.S. Senator) (b. May 15, 1895, Columbus, Ohio - d. October 8, 1972, New York City, New York, of lung cancer)
Mother: Dorothy "Dotty" Walker (b. July 1, 1901 - d. November 19, 1992)

Error corrections or clarifications

* A biography of the President, George Bush: An Intimate Portrait, by Fitzhugh Green (1990), erroneously states George and Barbara were married in "Greenwich, Connecticut." Both George Bush's autobiography, Looking Forward (1987), and Barbara Bush's autobiography, Barbara Bush: A Memoir (1994), specifically confirm their marriage took place at the First Presbyterian Church, in Rye, New York.


George Herbert Walker Bush was the second child born to Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy Walker on June 12th, 1924, at 11:38 a.m., at 173 Adams Street, in Milton, Massachusetts. His father would later serve as a United States Senator (1952-63). George met his future wife at a 1941 Christmas dance. He married Barbara Pierce, January 6th, 1945. The marriage took place at the First Presbyterian Church, in Rye, New York.

George Bush served as a pilot in the United States Navy (1942-45) during World War II, and engaged in numerous combat missions. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross "For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron FIFTY ONE, attached to the U.S.S. San Jacinto, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Bonin Islands, on September 2, 1944. Leading one section of a four-plane division in a strike against a radio station, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Bush pressed home an attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. Although his plane was hit and set afire at the beginning of his dive, he continued his plunge toward the target and succeeded in scoring damaging bomb hits before bailing out of the craft. His courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Reserve."

Following his wartime military service, he worked his way up through the oil business, and within a few short years, had co-founded his own oil company. Tragedy struck his young family when they lost their first daughter, Robin, to leukemia in 1953. By the late 1950s, Bush was showing a growing interest in politics. He unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate in 1964 and again in 1970. In between those Senate runs, he was elected to serve in the United States Congress (1967-71). He held a number of high level posts throughout the 1970s, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1971-72), then served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973-74). Next he served as Chief United States liaison officer to the People's Republic of China (1974-76), followed by a brief stint as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (1976-77).

Shortly before her death, former first lady Mamie Eisenhower was quoted as saying, "Ike said a long time ago that that fellow George Bush was presidential material, and this was when Bush was only a Republican congressman from Texas and not very well known around the country."

On May 1st, 1979, he publicly announced he was running for president. Though Bush never presented any serious threat to Ronald Reagan in his run for the Republican nomination, Bush did rise to the top of the pack vying for second place in most primaries. During the primaries, Bush famously labeled Reagan's supply side economic plans "voodoo economics." It was a quote that would haunt him for years. Ronald Reagan eventually selected George to be his running mate, and they won the election in a landslide against President Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale.

As Vice President, Bush coordinated the administration's efforts to fight international terrorism and wage the global war on drugs. He also led efforts on regulatory relief, focusing on reducing government and increasing American competitiveness. After eight years as Vice President, Bush was elected to the Presidency, becoming the 41st President of the United States (1989-93).

Key events during George Bush's presidency include the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, and the signing of the historic START I and START II treaties (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), the first-ever agreements with Russia to dismantle and destroy strategic weapons since the advent of the nuclear age. The sweeping Americans with Disabilities Act paved new ground for aiding disabled Americans, while President Bush's free trade efforts to lower trade restrictions and tariff barriers culminated in the Enterprise for the Americas initiative, and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In 1990, Iraq, then led by Saddam Hussein, invaded its neighbor to the south, Kuwait. In one of the defining moments of his presidency, Bush marshaled a 30 nation coalition to oppose Iraq's invasion. The initial effort was termed Desert Shield, but following the passing of a UN deadline demanding Iraq's withdraw from Kuwait by January 15th, 1991, the operation became known as Desert Storm. Following a devastating series of air attacks against Iraq, the ground war began. Iraq's defeat was swift, with thousands of Saddam Hussein's troops surrendering without a fight. Iraq's troops were driven out of Kuwait, with the ground portion of the war lasting just 100 hours. Under the leadership of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, coalition forces suffered fewer than 200 deaths, with Iraq's casualties numbering in the tens of thousands.

His failure to gain a second term in office is usually blamed on a lingering recession, his failure to abide by his famous "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge not to institute any new taxes, and third-party candidate Ross Perot's splitting moderates and conservatives by sapping a large block of those votes, thus handing the election to Bill Clinton.

Former President George Bush later teamed with Bill Clinton in notable philanthropic endeavors such as a fundraising campaign to help the victims of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, and the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund to aid those impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

Over the course of the 20th century, the Bush family developed into a true political dynasty, with Prescott Sheldon Bush having served as a United States Senator, George H. W. Bush the 41st President of the United States, as well as its 43rd Vice President, Jeb Bush serving as Governor of Florida, and finally, George W. Bush serving as Governor of Texas, and later, the 43rd President of the United States.

In recognition of his public service and humanitarian endeavors, February 15, 2011, President Bush was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.


The most in-depth of more than five dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile:
Looking Forward, by George Bush (1987)
George Bush: An Intimate Portrait, by Fitzhugh Green (1990)
Barbara Bush: A Memoir, by Barbara Bush (1994)
Simply Barbara Bush: A portrait of America's candid first lady, by Donnie Radcliffe (1989)

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