Thursday, March 23, 2006

World War Two and George HW Bush

The first President Bush was a war hero. He was a navy pilot during World War Two. By 1944, he had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded aboard the San Jacinto.

He also almost died. Wikipedia notes, "After finishing flight training he was assigned to Torpedo squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on U.S.S. San Jacinto in the spring of 1944. San Jacinto was part of Task Force 58 that participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June. On June 19 the task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. On his return from the mission Bush's aircraft made a forced water landing. A submarine rescued the young pilot, although the plane was lost as well as the life of his navigator."

In all, the San Jacinto suffered a 50% casualty rate among pilots during the war. President Bush was very fortunate to have survived World War Two.

What if Bush had died like his navigator did in 1944? How different would history have been? How would this impact the current world? There would have been no George HW Bush vice-presidency or presidency. Further, George W. and Jeb would have never been born so they would not now be President of the USA and Governor of Florida. I have the feeling that alternate history writers are going to have a field day with this scenario someday.

3 comments:

Jennie W said...

World War II definitely will give alternate historians fodder for centuries. Look at the Kennedy family - Joe, Jr was destined for the Presidency, not Jack, but he died in 1944. Jack was also involved in the PT 109 crash and almost lost his life. Everything about history can be second guessed by the question "what if". I guess I'm not that impressed by alternative historians. You can change it - but you can change now if you think something needs improved.

Michael said...

I like alternate history as a pleasant recreational pursuit but not as serious history. Of course, I read fantasy, science fiction, and think D&D is fun too!

Jennie W said...

That's probably why you like alternative history then - my husband has similar reading taste to you and he also likes to read alternative history for pleasure.

I guess I just mean some people take it too far...there are a lot of crazies out there and I think alternative history feeds some of them.

I don't mind alternative history for pleasure reading either for anyone who enjoys it (not me, but then I'm sure you would hate some of the fiction I love), but I don't like it for serious history.

Okay, this probably went too far...since its obvious we agree and all.