- I am an 82 year old Navy pilot and I am outraged at television's
depiction of George Bush Sr.'s Pacific experiences. Now, I hear a book
is forthcoming - Unbelievable!!
- I was in the Pacific at the same time as Bush and flew
the same Avenger airplane. A small room in the rear of the Avenger was
occupied by the radioman. The gunner went through the room to get up to
his turret. Both wore a harness to which a chest type parachute could be
attached - The gunner had to come down out of the turret to put on his
- Bush said he was hit by anti-aircraft fire and the plane
caught fire. Bush's squadron was primarily used for patrol and saw very
little combat. Bush claimed he warned the crew, over the intercom, to get
out - got no answer and he could not yell back because of the armor plate
- He decided they were dead, so he bailed out. First, he
failed to say he switched his mike from radio to intercom. Then being blocked
by the armor is a bold faced lie! There was a sizable gap on either side
of the armor. I used this space to call to my crew several times.
- The tough old Avenger simply did not catch fire!! It
had self sealing gas tanks. In six months of operations, I never saw an
Avenger catch fire. If the oil or hydraulic systems were damaged, great
clouds of white smoke would stream out of the planhe. I have no idea how
many times i saw planes returning to their carriers trailing smoke but
never a fire.
- What really happened? It was the pilots job to hold the
plane level and slow it down so the crew could get out. Most certainly,
the radioman was helping the gunner with his chute when Bush panicked and
left the plane. Then the plane rolled into a dive giving the crew no chance.
This story went through the fleet and all the Avenger pilots i knew were
shocked at what they heard. I heard speculation of a Courts-Martial.
- Bush was very young. By his own admission, he reacted
under stress. It is terrifying to have the cockpit fill with smoke. Possibly,
he can be excused for reacting to fear and accepting it as another war
time tragedy - but he has been glorified on the History channel, a book
is being published, and worst of all, an aircraft carrier is to be named
for him. This is unbelievable!! Bush performed badly and was certainly
- John S. McDonald