The Childhood and Education of George W.H. Bush

George Herbert Walker was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1989 to 1993. On June 12, 1924, Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, into Massachusetts’s political and wealthy family. His father, Connecticut Senator Prescott Sheldon Bush, was a famous family member, as was his mother, Dorothy Bush. 

George H.W. Bush went to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, a prestigious boarding institution, where he held numerous leadership positions. After meeting at a Christmas dance in 1941, he began dating his future wife, who was then known as Barbara Pierce. Bush was only 17 years old at the time, and Barbara was just 16 years old. In January 1945, they tied the knot.

Military Career and College Education

He then joined the US Navy on his 18th birthday and served as a naval aviator during WWII. Bush was considered the youngest naval aviator at the time.

He flew carrier-based torpedo bomber aircraft and completed 58 combat missions as a combat pilot throughout the conflict. When his jet was hit on a bombing run in the Pacific, he came close to dying. He was promptly rescued by a US Navy submarine when he managed to flee the flaming plane. For his WWII service, Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, he pursued his studies. George H.W. Bush earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Yale University in 1948, following his father’s legacy, and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Skull & Bones secret societies at Yale and President of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

After refusing a job offer from his father’s company, he relocated to Texas and worked for Dresser Industries as an oil field supply salesperson. Later, in 1951, he co-founded the Bush-Overbey Oil Development Company, and in 1953, he co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Corporation.

Political Career

George H.W. Bush was a wealthy man by 1964, and he began to pursue political ambitions. In the same year, he served as the Chairman of the Republican Party in Harris County, Texas.

Eventually, he ran for the United States Senate from Texas in 1964 but lost to Democrat Ralph Yarborough.

Soon, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Texas in 1966 and served two terms. In 1970, he resigned from this position to run for Senate, but he lost.

Bush became the United States ambassador to the United Nations in 1971, the Republican National Committee’s chairman during the Watergate affair, the United States’ envoy to China, and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1976.

George H.W. Bush ran for President of the United States in 1980 but was defeated by Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was re-elected in 1984, George H. W. Bush was re-elected as Vice-President, and George H. W. Bush was re-elected as President.

He defeated Democratic contender Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election, becoming the first to serve as the Vice President to be elected President since 1836 and the first to succeed someone from his party since 1929.

Presidency

George H. W. Bush became the 41st President of the United States of America on January 20, 1989.

He saw the Berlin Wall fall, the Soviet Union crumble, and the Cold War ended after 40 years during his tenure.

In 1989, he led ‘Operation Just Cause,’ a US invasion of Panama to apprehend corrupt leader Manuel Noriega, remove his dictatorship in the country, and extradite him to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

His government enacted several significant laws. The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Immigration Act are just a few of them.

Following the collapse of a UN mission in Somalia, Bush dispatched his soldiers to aid in the humanitarian mission of feeding the malnourished Somali people. However, he was heavily chastised after the deaths of numerous US marines.

At the end of Bush’s first term, he stated that he would run for re-election in 1992, presumably due to his worldwide success. However, Bush was defeated by Democrat Bill Clinton, who was elected President of the United States.

Retirement and Legacy

After retiring, he moved back to Houston with his family. From 1993 to 1999, he was chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowships board of trustees from 2007 to 2009. He was chairman of the National Constitution Center.

George H. W. Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement’s National Space Trophy for his contributions to the US space programs during WWII.

The US Navy Memorial Foundation awarded him the Lone Sailor honor in 1991, and Queen Elizabeth II named him an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1993.

Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 for its vast oil reserves, and Saddam Hussein later claimed control of half of the country. George H. W. Bush thought it was unjust and urged numerous European and Arab countries to join him in opposing it, leading to an allied coalition. The coalition forces won a decisive victory and drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. Following this episode, Bush’s popularity skyrocketed.