GEORGE H.W. BUSH, Chairman of the Board, International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame - On February 10, 1997 former President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush surprised the skydiving community when he announced that he wanted to make a jump. On March 25, 1997 he surprised the world when he did. Photos of that skydive appeared in color on the front cover of almost every major newspaper around the globe.
Sadly, with the passing of President Bush on November 30, 2018 the skydiving community bids farewell to one of its own. And for the International Skydivng Museum & Hall of Fame, we say goodbye to our Honorary Chairman of the Board, a long time museum supporter and advocate. As he famously declared, “Let’s build this thing!”
President Bush’s first jump was in 1943 when he parachuted from his crippled torpedo bomber over the Japanese held Island of Chi Chi Jima during World War II. Although he hit his head upon exit, he landed safely in the ocean and was rescued by a U.S. submarine. He sadly lost his crew.
Decades later as a keynote speaker at the Parachute Industry Association’s biennial symposium in Houston, Texas he saw the opportunity to find some closure. President Bush was briefed on static line, tandem and accelerated freefall. Without hesitation he chose AFF. After all, he pulled his own ripcord in 1943. At 72 years old he made that first AFF jump, followed again as a 75 year old. He went on to make anniversary birthday tandem jumps until he was 90.
President Bush served his country as a US senator, ambassador to China, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, vice president and ultimately the 41st president of the United States. He was a man committed to family, friends and service to country. And he loved to skydive. He will be sorely missed.