Air Group 51 - USS San Jacinto - Lt. (j.g.) George H. W. Bush

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Air Group 51 - USS San Jacinto - Lt. (j.g.) George H. W. Bush

Post by Volyn » 04 Aug 2019 21:54

I was reading from different sources about the WW2 combat history of President George H. W. Bush during his time as a Naval Aviator; surprisingly his list of awards are incomplete.

I have attempted to compile a short list of his wartime exploits flying with Air Group 51 aboard the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), and temporarily with the USS Finback (SS-230). Based on the list below, Lt. (j.g.) Bush would have earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and possibly the Philippine Liberation Medal.

I would like to determine how many campaign stars Lt. (j.g.) Bush earned for both the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal (if he earned it)?

Lt. (j.g.) Bush's Pacific Theater Dates of Activity from MAY 1944 - DEC 1944:

1. MAY 1944, AG 51 commences air raids against the Japanese garrisons occupying Marcus and Wake Islands.
2. On 19 JUN 1944 he participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot". He was forced to make a water landing and was rescued by the USS Clarence K. Bronson (DD-668), a Fletcher-class destroyer.
3. From JUN 1944 - JUL 1944 AG 51 conducts air raids against Japanese garrisons occupying Rota and Guam Islands.
4. On 25 JUL 1944 Ensign Bush was credited with sinking a small cargo ship.
5. On 1 AUG 1944 Ensign Bush is promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade) and AG 51 begins flying air raids against the Japanese garrison on the Bonin Islands.
6. On 2 SEP 1944 Lt. (j.g.) Bush was shot down after a successful air raid against Japanese forces on Chichijima, forcing him and his crew to parachute over open water. He was rescued at sea by the USS Finback, a Gato-class submarine, and he joined their crew assisting in the rescue of other downed Navy pilots until sometime in NOV 1944.
7. NOV 1944 he rejoined the USS San Jacinto during the campaign to liberate the Philippines, but I am not sure if he participated in any of the air raids that were being conducted around Manila Bay during that time?
8. DEC 1944 AG 51 was replaced by AG 45 after having suffered 50% causalities to their pilots when the USS San Jacinto stopped at Guam. AG 51 was rotated back to the US, thus ending their combat tour.

I have attached links below to identify the criteria for awarding the medals and their respective campaign stars:

I think he earned at least 2 campaign stars for his Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal, but can someone confirm if he earned more? ... aign_Medal

As for the Philippine Liberation Medal, Bush could have only qualified for 3 of the 4 potential campaign stars, they are listed below. If he did not fly any sorties against the Japanese during that time then he could have earned only 1 star.
-Participation in any engagement against hostile Japanese forces on Leyte and adjoining islands during the Philippine Liberation Campaign of 17 October 1944, to 2 September 1945.
-Participation in any engagement against hostile Japanese forces on islands other than those mentioned above during the Philippine Liberation Campaign of 17 October 1944, to 2 September 1945.
-Served in the Philippine Islands or on ships in Philippine waters for not less than 30 days during the period.

Personnel who are awarded the medal for participation in any of the above-mentioned operations are authorized a bronze ​3⁄16" service star to the Philippine Liberation Medal for each additional qualifying action. ... tion_Medal

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