George H. W. Bush
Born: June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts
Married to Barbara Pierce Bush
George Bush brought to the White House a dedication
to traditional American values and a determination to direct them toward
making the United States "a
kinder and gentler nation." In his Inaugural Address he pledged
in "a moment rich with promise" to use American strength as "a
force for good."
Coming from a family with a tradition of public service, George Herbert
Walker Bush felt the responsibility to make his contribution both in
time of war and in peace. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June 12,
1924, he became a student leader at Phillips Academy in Andover. On his
18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in
the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during
World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot
he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the
water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
for bravery in action.
Bush next turned his energies toward completing his education and raising
a family. In January 1945 he married Barbara Pierce. They had six children--
George, Robin (who died as a child), John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin,
At Yale University he excelled both in sports and in his studies; he
was captain of the baseball team and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After
graduation Bush embarked on a career in the oil industry of West Texas.
Like his father, Prescott Bush, who was elected a Senator from Connecticut
in 1952, George became interested in public service and politics. He
served two terms as a Representative to Congress from Texas. Twice he
ran unsuccessfully for the Senate. Then he was appointed to a series
of high-level positions: Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of
the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office
in the People's Republic of China, and Director of the Central Intelligence
In 1980 Bush campaigned for the Republican nomination for President.
He lost, but was chosen as a running mate by Ronald Reagan. As Vice President,
Bush had responsibility in several domestic areas, including Federal
deregulation and anti-drug programs, and visited scores of foreign countries.
In 1988 Bush won the Republican nomination for President and, with Senator
Dan Quayle of Indiana as his running mate, he defeated Massachusetts
Governor Michael Dukakis in the general election.
Bush faced a dramatically changing world, as the Cold War ended after
40 bitter years, the Communist empire broke up, and the Berlin Wall fell.
The Soviet Union ceased to exist; and reformist President Mikhail Gorbachev,
whom Bush had supported, resigned. While Bush hailed the march of democracy,
he insisted on restraint in U. S. policy toward the group of new nations.
In other areas of foreign policy, President Bush sent American troops
into Panama to overthrow the corrupt regime of General Manuel Noriega,
who was threatening the security of the canal and the Americans living
there. Noriega was brought to the United States for trial as a drug trafficker.
Bush's greatest test came when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded
Kuwait, then threatened to move into Saudi Arabia. Vowing to free Kuwait,
Bush rallied the United Nations, the U. S. people, and Congress and sent
425,000 American troops. They were joined by 118,000 troops from allied
nations. After weeks of air and missile bombardment, the 100-hour land
battle dubbed Desert Storm routed Iraq's million-man army.
Despite unprecedented popularity from this military and diplomatic triumph,
Bush was unable to withstand discontent at home from a faltering economy,
rising violence in inner cities, and continued high deficit spending.
In 1992 he lost his bid for reelection to Democrat William Clinton.