Gunny G: George Bush and Chichi Jima WW II, etc. (From: George Bush The Unauthorized Biography)
George Bush and Chichi Jima WW II, etc.
(From: George Bush The Unauthorized Biography)
“On September 2, 1944, Bush and three other Avenger pilots, escorted by Hellcat fighter planes, were directed to attack a radio transmitter on Chichi Jima. Planes from the USS Enterprise would also join in the attack. On this mission Bush’s rear-seat gunner would not be the usual Leo Nadeau, but rather Lt. (jg) William Gardner “Ted” White, the squadron ordnance officer of VT-51, already a Yale graduate and already a member of Skull and Bones. White’s father had been a classmate of Prescott Bush. White took his place in the rear-facing machine gun turret of Bush’s TBM Avenger, the Barbara II. The radioman-gunner was John L. Delaney, a regular member of Bush’s crew.
What happened in the skies of Chichi Jima that day is a matter of lively controversy. Bush has presented several differing versions of his own story. In his campaign autobiography published in 1987 Bush gives the following account:
The flak was the heaviest I’d ever flown into. The Japanese were ready and waiting: their antiaircraft guns were set up to nail us as we pushed into our dives. By the time VT-51 was ready to go in, the sky was thick with angry black clouds of exploding antiaircraft fire.
Don Melvin led the way, scoring hits on a radio tower. I followed, going into a thirty-five degree dive, an angle of attack that sounds shallow but in an Avenger felt as if you were headed straight down. The target map was strapped to my knee, and as I started into my dive, I’d already spotted the target area. Coming in, I was aware of black splotches of gunfire all around.
Suddenly there was a jolt, as if a massive fist had crunched into the belly of the plane. Smoke poured into the cockpit, and I could see flames rippling across the crease of the wing, edging towards the fuel tanks. I stayed with the dive, homed in on the target, unloaded our four 500-pound bombs, and pulled away, heading for the sea. Once over water, I leveled off and told Delaney and White to bail out, turning the plane to starboard to take the slipstream off the door near Delaney’s station.
Up to that point, except for the sting of dense smoke blurring my vision, I was in fair shape. But when I went to make my jump, trouble came in pairs. [fn 2]
In this account, there is no more mention of White and Delaney until Bush hit the water and began looking around for them. Bush says that it was only after having been rescued by the USS Finnback, a submarine, that he “learned that neither Jack Delaney nor Ted White had survived. One went down with the plane; the other was seen jumping, but his parachute failed to open.” The Hyams account of 1991 was written after an August 1988 interview with Chester Mierzejewski, another member of Bush’s squadron, had raised important questions about the haste with which Bush bailed out, rather than attempting a water landing. Mierzejewski’s account, which is summarized below, contradicted Bush’s own version of these events, and hinted that Bush might have abandoned his two crewmembers to a horrible and needless death. The Hyams account, which is partly intended to refute Mierzejewski, develops as follows:
…Bush was piloting the third plane over the target, with Moore flying on his wing. He nosed over into a thirty-degree glide, heading straight for the radio tower. Determined to finally destroy the tower, he used no evasive tactics and held the plane directly on target. His vision ahead was occasionally cancelled by bursts of black smoke from the Japanese antiaircraft guns. The plane was descending through thickening clouds of flak pierced by the flaming arc of tracers.
There was a sudden flash of light followed by an explosion. “The plane was lifted forward, and we were enveloped in flames,” Bush recalls. “I saw the flames running along the wings where the fuel tanks were and where the wings fold. I thought, This is really bad! It’s hard to remember the details, but I looked at the instruments and couldn’t see them for the smoke.”
Don Melvin, circling above the action while waiting for his pilots to drop their bombs and get out, thought the Japanese shell had hit an oil line on Bush’s Avenger. “You could have seen that smoke for a hundred miles.”
Perhaps so, but it is difficult to understand why the smoke from Bush’s plane was so distinctly visible in such a smoke-filled environment. Hyams goes on to describe Bush’s completion of his bombing run. His account continues:
By then the wings were covered in flames and smoke, and the engine was blazing. He considered making a water landing but realized it would not be possible. Bailing out was absolutely the last choice, but he had no other option. He got on the radio and notified squadron leader Melvin of his decision. Melvin radioed back, “Received your message. Got you in sight. Will follow.”
[...] Milt Moore, flying directly behind Bush, saw the Avenger going down smoking. “I pulled up to him; then he lost power and I went sailing by him.”
As soon as he was back over water, Bush shouted on the intercom for White and Delaney to “hit the silk!” [...] Dick Gorman, Moore’s radioman-gunner, remembers hearing someone on the intercom shout, “Hit the silk!” and asking Moore, “Is that you, Red?”
“No,” Moore replied. “It’s Bush, he’s hit!”
Other squadron members heard Bush repeating the command to bail out, over and over, on the radio.
There was no response from either of Bush’s crewmen and no way he could see them; a shield of armor plate between him and Lt. White blocked his view behind. He was certain that White and Delaney had bailed out the moment they got the order. [fn 3]
Hyams quotes a later entry by Melvin in the squadron log as to the fate of Bush’s two crewmen: “”At a point approximately nine miles bearing 045’T (degrees) from Minami Jima, Bush and one other person were seen to bail out from about 3,000 feet. Bush’s chute opened and he landed safely in the water, inflated his raft, and paddled farther away from Chi-Chi Jima. The chute of the other person who bailed out did not open. Bush has not yet been returned to the squadron…so this information is incomplete. While Lt. j.g. White and J.L. Delaney are reported missing in action, it is believed that both were killed as a result of the above described action.” [fn 4] But it is interesting to note that this report, contrary to usual standard navy practice, has no date. This should alert us to that tampering with public records, such as Bush’s filings at the Securities and Exchange Commission during the 1960’s, which appears to be a specialty of the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones network.
For comparison, let us now cite the cursory account of this same incident provided by Bush’s authorized biographer in the candidate’s 1980 presidential campaign biography:”
EXCERPT ONLY ABOVE
CONTINUED LINK BELOW
Bush In WW II
Bush Chichi Jima Rescue Film
George Bush New World Order
R. W. “Dick” Gaines
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