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Reply #37: Poppy bailed out on his men... [View All]

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #29
37. Poppy bailed out on his men...
Here ya go:



George Bush Parachutes Again to Exorcise Demons of Past Betrayal

By Ted Sampley
March/April/May 1997

Former President George Bush, who bailed out of a crippled Navy Avenger bomber 53 years ago, jumped again in March of this year. His World War II jump is historic. It made Bush the only president to ever bail out of an airplane and the only president whose crew mates were sent careening into the ocean because their pilot had abandoned the aircraft.

SNIP...

Prior to the jump, Jim McGrath, Bush's assistant, had said "The reasons behind this are strictly personal, . . . It has to do with World War II."

SNIP...

In a 1987 account of the World War II incident, which differed from his earlier versions, Bush told about the incident on television. He claimed that during a bombing run against a Japanese radio installation on ChiChi Island, his plane was hit and engulfed in flames and that he ordered his crew to bail out. He said one did, but his parachute failed. Bush claimed the other crewman did not answer the intercom, so he assumed that the crewman was critically wounded or dead.

Bush, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action prior to the crash, said that even though the plane was in flames, he managed to fly it on to the target and drop his bombs before he bailed out. Bush admitted, however, that in his rush to get out of the Avenger, he pulled the parachute rip cord too quickly and was gashed on his forehead when he hit the tail of the plane.

Bush's Betrayal

Chester Mierzejewski, an old war buddy of Bush, who said he was angered by the "false assertions" made by candidate Bush when describing the incident, gave a different account.

After 44 years of silence, Mierzejewski, who also was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, told the New York Post that Bush had abandoned his crew to death when there was another choice.

He said he was approximately 100 feet in front of Bush's plane as the turret gunner for Squadron Commander Douglas Melvin's plane, "so close he could see in the cockpit" of Bush's bomber. Mierzejewski's close wartime buddy was one of the two crew members in Bush's plane.

According to Mierzejewski, the squadron was in a tight-formation bombing raid against a Japanese radio installation on an island reported to be heavily fortified. He saw "a puff of smoke" come from Bush's plane which quickly disappeared and was certain only one man parachuted from the plane and that it was Bush, the pilot.

Mierzejewski said the Avenger torpedo bomber was engineered so that it could successfully crash land on water and that Bush doomed his own crew by bailing out and leaving the bomber out of control.

Other World War II veterans also expressed concern about Bush parachuting out of the aircraft. "He had a moral obligation to put that plane in the water in an emergency landing," Robert Flood, a former B-17 bombardier told the press. "He violated the primary rule for a captain of a multi-crew aircraft: The pilot never leaves the airplane with anybody in it."

Pete Brandon, a Marine Corps Avenger pilot, who also served in the South Pacific, said an Avenger pilot had two choices: Set the plane down in the water or hold it steady until the two crewmen could prepare to jump.

"In an Avenger, only the pilot wore a parachute," Brandon said. "The two crewmen wore harnesses. If the order came to bail out, they had to take chest parachutes from a shelf and strap them on - and bail out. The Avenger was very unstable. The pilot had to be at the controls the whole time or it would go right over on its back."

CONTINUED...

http://www.usvetdsp.com/story46.htm



I remember one crewman was an "old family friend" of the Bushes. The poor guy was Skull and Bones at Yale, too.
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