Can we just…

Not that the world is standing still here or anything, but we’ve been seeing this factoid again about how George Bush, Sr., was the Navy’s youngest fighter pilot in WWII — or simply America’s ‘youngest fighter pilot.’

The Grumman TBM Avenger

‘Youngest,’ we don’t know about, but he was never a fighter pilot at all. The Avenger was a slow, heavy three-man torpedo bomber. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s like he was assigned to drive a minivan, and then later it’s all like, “George Bush, the sports car racer.”

Just saying. If he were a fighter pilot, he probably would have been flying the F6F, as everyone knows — although the F4U was, of course, possible as well. But if you look at the fighters assigned to the Ticonderoga-class carriers in 1943-’44, you find…

OW! Hey!
[Fusillade of spitballs]


Comments: 34


Well, I think that technically, Bush was a “fighter pilot” as far a qualifacations are concerned- I don’t believe there was any differance in the training regimen for Avenger, Dauntless, Corsair or Hellcat pilots until one got to advanced training for the bomber pilots.
“Tactical bombers” and fighters were pretty much the same as far as the Navy was concerned, though the pilots were pretty specific (goddam fighter jocks!).
Still- it is slightly misleading although the differance is pretty slim… instead of shooting down Japanese planes, he flew a plane that blew up ships (granted a plane that was significantly less manuverable and somewhat slower than a fighter).
It’s a bit more like he was assigned to drive stock cars, but claiming he was a Formula One racer afterwards.

something special in the air

June 1943 – “Pull up! Pull up!”

Oct 1945 – “Pull out! Pull out!”



Genius! (pull out! pull out!)

I see him more as a P-36 douchewad. The Hellcat (I think that was the 6) was too cool for him, as was the Corsair. In fact, all planes were too cool for Bush pere.


Well, from what I can remember about various articles on WWII fighter training, and stuff like that, he would have trained on the F4F. So technically he was qualified to fly fighters.
But they skimmed off the best trainees to be instructors, then split the rest up into fighter jocks and tactical bomber pilots. It’s sort of a ‘gentleman’s C’ in terms of flight duty.


God, the P-36. Yee, woo.


Yeah, I’m pretty sure he trained on a Wildcat- I did a biographical report on Bush I in Eighth grade.
I kinda lean towards going easy on the old guy- he was basically a professional toady throughout his political career (kind of like Rumsfeld)… it makes it kind of hard to judge him too harshly for not having any ability to function by himself in politics :sigh:


Fighter pilots make the movies, bomber pilots make history. (except for Memphis Belle)

But Bush is still blue-blood scum.


This is all getting pretty talmudic. Maybe Bush wasn’t a ‘fighter pilot’, strictly speaking. Or maybe he was, albeit of the less sexy sort.
Surely, though, the important thing is that either way, and whatever else one can criticise him for (which is a lot), he did his bit, and by all accounts honourably and bravely.

That’s important to the historian, of course, only because it shows that the elder Bush is one of the countless people who helped bring about the Allied victory. It’s of greater importance to the biologist, perhaps, as evidence against the heritability of bravery and honour.


Well, questioning people’s military records has gotten a bad name since the Swift Boat thing, but when Bush Sr. was shot down, he bailed out and let both his crewmembers go down with the plane.

I don’t think you’re supposed to do that as a commanding officer. But it’s neither here nor there.


Anyway, a fighter pilot can reasonably be defined as someone whose duty included flying a fighter plane.

The Avenger looks a bit like a fighter, but it isn’t one. It’s a big, heavy slow thing with a crew of three, that dropped torpedoes at ships instead of engaging enemy air and/or ground targets.


The Ticonderoga class of ships were the first aegis-equipped cruisers (not carriers), didn’t exist until 1983, and definitely didn’t carry any fighter planes.

Perhaps you’re thinking of the Essex class.

Hey? Who threw that?


They were fast carriers — Bush was stationed on the U.S.S. El Producto, or something.

Wait, hold on.

Ok, no, there was a carrier, U.S.S. Ticonderoga, but it’s the Independence class of light carrier, incl. the San Jacinto.


No wait, the Essex class is the Ticonderoga class. Same thing, no?


Not after they sank the Ticonderoga.

I figure if you can land a ‘minivan’ on a rolling pitching driveway, you get a damn lot more cred than any Air Force puke, especially a reserve* pilot

*in the former, preferred, definition of ‘reserve’

Go Navy!


and no, the Ticonderoga was not sank, just phased out.


Then there were the Marines who flew Corsairs off the carriers. THAT was a fucked-up plane to do carrier landings with…


Yes, confusion abounds about the Navy’s re-use of names.

The USS Ticonderoga (CV14) was an Essex-class aircraft carrier in WWII, decommissioned in 1973.

The USS Ticonderoga (CG47) was a Ticonderoga-class cruiser launched in 1983 and decommissioned last year.

They’ll re-use the names of ships, but as far as I know, they don’t re-use class names. The only class of ships ever called “Ticonderoga” were the Aegis cruisers.

Bush 41 flew off the USS San Jacinto (CVL30), an Independence-class light carrier.


Bush had two crew members die in his bail out? Do they reenact those when he does his sky dive every 10 years? “You will sacrifice yourself for this photo-op”

What’s up with the Corsair and carrier landings?

Imagine Bush and a bunch of neocons piloting Brewster Buffalos against Zeroes at Pearl Harbor- not only would they be in outmoded pieces of crap but their True Belief ™ in their own superiority would not allow them to believe they were getting picked off like nobody’s business.

Gavin and everyone else, if you missed Wolcott pointing to this

read it, a most delightful take at the neo-con understanding of military history. I almost want the guy to rip me a new one, because the prose is soooo good.


try to ignore that that article is at counterpunch, I know it is way way way left (check out the books that they are hawking), but the article itself is hilarious, and the meanest thing I have read in awhile.


Well, it’s not entirely fair to say “Bush bailed out and let his companions die”- it really is kind of the Top Gun (I feel dirty just mentioning that crapfest) situation: he gave the order to bail out, as he was supposed to.
He did so successfully (although giving himself a grievious headwound by hitting part of the tail in the process). His crew failed to do so- possibly due to a faulty latch on the rear crew compartment (they’ve never managed to conclusively prove anything about the crash, however).


Bush Pere is, to my mind, a skilled game-player and string-puller. He’s a behind-the-scenes man who never should have run for president, because a front man he is not. And, really, he only *looks* like a clueless, hopeless weenie.

As far as CounterPunch is concerned, they run half a dozen articles or more every day, and not all of them are way way way left. It’s worth exploring the site, rather than dismissing it, as many do, because of Cockburn and St. Clair. If nothing else, read some of the Ben Tripp articles.


Yeah, I probably freaked at some of the crazy books there, I would definitely read ANYTHING by Werther, though.


What’s up with the Corsair and carrier landings?

The gull wings made it really hard to control at stall speed, so they were always missing the cables and plowing into other planes on the deck.

I just found this out yesterday. It’s why you always see Corsairs on island airfields — they took them off the carriers and issued them to land-based squadrons.


What a bunch of nothing, little, cunts.

Oh Christ, it’s Counterpunch.

Shut the fuck up and realize at some point just how much text readership and hits they command over something like The New Republic or just die.

You guys are fun and all, but why in the hell do I have to listen to some margin of the margin tell an organization that is kicking the crap out of some fantastic “mainstream” about how terribly out of the loop they are.


Oh, I know. They do print some stuff that seems completely unbelievable. Tinfoil territory.
But, you know, there’s been an awful lot of shit said and done over the last five years that seemed totally unbelievable, and turned out to be true.

I don’t automatically dismiss much of anything anymore, as long as it doesn’t involve space aliens or the goodwill of televangelists or telemarketers.


Y’know, Ed, I’m a longtime print subscriber to CounterPunch, personally. But I find that sensible people are more likely to read it regularly if you show them some good articles than if you call them cunts for not having liked something they already read there.
I’m honestly not sure who would be swayed by your unique marketing method.

And seriously. They’ve printed some pretty fringe stuff. It’s hardly a majority of what they do, or even a sizeable minority, but it’s there.
It’s just what happens when you have dozens of contributers and hundreds of subjects. That’s all there is to it.


Sidhe’s right- when you cover a lot of viewpoints, you’re bound to have the occational “batshit insane” that slips through the cracks.
They have it at Alternet (mostly commenters, and mostly of the anti-theist type), and the otherwise pretty blah US News and World Report has the crazy shit from FLAME at the end of every issue along with Mort “I Fuckin’ :Heart: Israel” Zuckerman to make things tilt to tinfoil land.
Live with it- at least it’s better than The Weekly Standard or (God help you) The National Review, and it goes without saying better than Townhall or those crazy bastards at WND.


“grievious headwound”

Which apparently excised his empathy.

Come to think of it, no, that must be a genetic trait. genotypic.

Unless W got it from his mom’s side.


Oh, the lack of empahty is definately a Walker trait (bUT I think Babs’ family certainly weren’t slouches in that department).


From what I read, chicken george sr. wasn’t shot DOWN he was shot AT and bailed out killing his crew members in the process.
He’s not quite the coward his son is, but damn close


if I got a grievious headwound woudja let me read marxists at counterpunch and stuff too?


“I don’t automatically dismiss much of anything anymore, as long as it doesn’t involve space aliens or the goodwill of televangelists or telemarketers.”D Sidhe

um, D Sidhe, 4 things ya didn’t know:

*”Mahatma Ghandi?s ghost throttled Hendrix”

*”Saddam Hussein was breeding an army of genetically modified Yeti”

*”Hitler was half Werewolf”

*”Space aliens replaced Nixon with a clone”

(dreamed up by Gerard Holmgren, found here)


“That’s important to the historian, of course, only because it shows that the elder Bush is one of the countless people who helped bring about the Allied victory. It’s of greater importance to the biologist, perhaps, as evidence against the heritability of bravery and honour.”

(golf clap)

Nicely done…


Rowan: I’m only dismissing that last one outright…


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