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George H. W. Bush: 41st President During Desert Storm

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else we're destined to repeat it.

Official White House Photo

His Early Years

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, became the first vice president since Martin Van Buren was elected directly from vice presidency. For eight years, he served with Ronald Reagan. He then served from 1989 to 1993 as president, intending to direct the United States to be "a kinder and gentler nation."

On June 12, 1924, he was born in Milton, Massachusetts, where he had three brothers and a sister. They moved to a wealthy suburb in Greenwich, Connecticut. Later, he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he was the basketball and soccer team captain. He also played baseball and served as president of his senior class. He graduated from high school in 1942, amid World War II.

He opted out of college; instead, he enlisted in the armed forces on his 18th birthday. He served in the Navy as a pilot, where he became the war's youngest Navy pilot. He flew 58 combat missions throughout World War II. A Japanese anti-aircraft shot him down during one of these missions when he was flying a torpedo bomber over the Pacific. He was rescued from the water by a United States submarine. For his bravery, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Once the war ended, he married Barbara Pierce in January 1945 while attending Yale University. They went on to have six children; George (who one day would become president himself), Robin (who died as a child), John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy.

While at Yale, he played baseball where he became the team's captain. He also was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Then in 1948, he graduated with honors with a degree in economics. He decided to move to West Texas, where he began working in the oil fields, moving his young wife and eldest son.

Avenger Pilot Bush

George H. W. Bush flying TBFs off the carrier USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) in the South Pacific.

George H. W. Bush flying TBFs off the carrier USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) in the South Pacific.

The Political Career

In 1952, George H. W. Bush's father, Prescott Bush, became a U.S. Senator representing Connecticut. This early influence encouraged George to pursue politics himself. He first served two terms as a Texan Representative to Congress. When he first ran for the Senate, he was unsuccessful. Fortunately, when he ran in 1966, he won the position.

Later, Richard Nixon chose him to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. When the Watergate scandal began, he served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee and the Chief of the United States Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China. Later, he even served as the Director of the CIA.

In his first attempt at running for the United States presidency, he lost the Republican nomination to Ronald Reagan. Fortunately, Reagan saw Bush's promise and asked him to become his vice president. He was a loyal vice president and was responsible for federal deregulation, anti-drug programs, and many foreign affairs.

Reagan was very pleased by Bush's work as vice president and helped his campaign for president in 1988 with Senator Dan Quayle as his running mate. This time he successfully won against Governor Michael Dukakis and became president.

Basic Facts

Question Answer


June 12, 1924, Massachussettes

President Number




Military Service

United States Navy - Lieutenant (junior grade)

Wars Served

World War II

Age at Beginning of Presidency

65 years old

Term of Office

January 20, 1989 - January 20, 1993

How Long President

4 years


Dan Quayle

Age and Year of Death

94 years old on November 30,2018

Cause of Death

unclear, but suffered from vascular parkinsonism for years prior

With Ronald Reagan as Vice President

His Presidential Years

While president, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe, which caused his popularity to soar. The Cold War finally ended after 40 long years, and the Soviet Union no longer existed. Also, while he was in office, the Berlin Wall fell.

There also was a threat to the security of the Panama Canal; therefore, Bush sent American troops to overthrow the regime of General Manuel Noriega, who would later be tried as a drug trafficker.

In 1990, one of the most significant events during his presidency occurred. Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded Kuwait. Bush vowed to protect Kuwait, sending 425,000 American troops; he also got the United Nations to support him. Over 118,000 troops from other nations joined as well. First, they spent weeks attacking from the air with missiles. Then they fought for 100 hours against Iraq’s million-man army in the famous battle dubbed Desert Storm. The United States eventually regained Kuwait, which was well received by the American populace.

Unfortunately, despite his great success overseas, his popularity took a hit when he needed to raise taxes due to the economic slump back home, despite his promise not to do so. There was also an increase in inner-city violence and a high deficit in spending. Unfortunately, he was not renominated for a second term and lost to William Clinton in 1992.

After the Presidency

After he left office, he split his time between Texas and Maine, volunteered at his church, and sat on the board of a hospital. In 1997, the west campus of Texas A&M University dedicated the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in his honor. They hold the private papers and official documents from his career as president. He died at age 94 near the end of 2018.

Fun Facts

  • One of only two elected vice presidents to become elected presidents.
  • He had a form of Parkinson's disease.
  • He is the second president who was the father of another president.
  • During World War II, he was awarded three Air Medals as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving in the Navy after flying 58 combat missions.
  • His first stint as president of the United States was for eight hours while President Reagan had surgery on July 13, 1985.
  • He celebrated his 75th, 80th, 85th, and 90th birthday by skydiving.


  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). George H. W. Bush. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
  • "George H. W. Bush Fast Facts." CNN. April 23, 2017. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  • "George H. W. Bush: Life After the Presidency." Miller Center. August 01, 2017. Accessed January 17, 2018.
  • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.
  • What are some interesting facts about presidents and first ladies? (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2018 Angela Michelle Schultz