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Old 12-04-2018, 04:28 PM
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Thumbs up Navy Will Perform Unprecedented 21-Fighter Flyover for Bush Funeral

Navy Will Perform Unprecedented 21-Fighter Flyover for Bush Funeral
By: Megan Eckstein - December 4, 2018 5:37 PM

Photo link:
Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, talk with then-Capt. Chip Miller, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), in the captain’s in-port cabin. Bush and his wife, Barbara, spent their time aboard watching flight operations, touring the ship and spending time with the crew. A US Navy Photo.

The Navy will honor former naval aviator and 41st president George H.W. Bush on Thursday with a largest-ever 21-aircraft missing man formation as part of his funeral services in Texas.

Thirty F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets departed Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. today ahead of the Dec. 6 internment ceremony at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

A naval aviation official told USNI News that a missing man formation of this size is unprecedented and reflects Bush’s legacy as a naval aviator and ongoing relationship with the Navy’s carrier strike group community.

“Being selected to participate in this memorial is one of the highest honors a Naval Aviator can receive,” Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, said in a statement.
“In addition to being our president, he was also one of our brothers, flying combat missions off aircraft carriers during World War II. His service to our Navy and nation merits a tribute of this magnitude.”

Photo link:
Capt. Kevin McLaughlin, the commander of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, and Cmdr. Patrice Fernandes, the executive officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, prepare to fly an F/A-18F Super Hornet to the staging location in advance of their upcoming flyover honoring fellow aviator and late President, George H.W. Bush. The flyover is scheduled to take place on Dec. 6th at 4:15pm CST, over President Bush’s presidential library in College Station, TX. McLaughlin will be fly the lead jet for the flyover. US Navy photo

Aircraft from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, the “Jolly Rogers”; VFA-143, the “Pukin’ Dogs”; VFA-32, the “Swordsmen”; VFA-83, the “Rampagers”; VFA-131, the “Wildcats”; VFA-105, the “Gunslingers”; VFA-31, the “Tomcatters”; and VFA-87, the “Golden Warriors,” all departed Oceana today ahead of their participation in the flyover.

Capt. Kevin McLaughlin, the commander of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, will fly the lead plane in the formation. His aircraft has been painted to list “President George H.W. Bush, 41” where the pilot’s name would typically go and “Barbara, First Lady” where the naval flight officer’s name might go.

Video link:

Bush died on Nov. 30 at the age of 94, after a lifetime of military and public service. He enlisted in the Navy when he turned 18, just six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He became one of the Navy’s youngest naval aviators in history, earning his Wings of Gold at the age of 18. After being shot down during a bombing mission in 1944, Bush was rescued by a submarine and returned to flying as soon as he could get back to his carrier, USS San Jacinto (CVL-30). He went on to complete 58 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, according to the Navy.

In 2009 the Navy commissioned an aircraft carrier named after Bush, and the former president was involved in the pre-commissioning activities and kept in touch with the crew well after the ship joined the fleet.

Photo link:
Former President and honoree George H. W. Bush speaks to the audience during the commissioning ceremony for the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) aircraft carrier at Naval Station, Norfolk, Va., Jan. 10, 2009. Defense Department photo.

To honor that ongoing relationship with the Navy, all the former George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group commanders were invited to the Monday afternoon ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington. CSG commanders in attendance included Commander of Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. John Aquilino, retired Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, retired Rear Adm. David Thomas, retired Rear Adm. Gregory Nosal.

Additionally, about 100 sailors from the current crew of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) were on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Monday when Air Force One – being dubbed Special Mission 41 this week while supporting Bush’s funeral arrangements in Washington and Texas – landed and unloaded Bush’s casket.


Personal note: God Bless You and Your Wife Mr. & Mrs. Bush may you fly in the sky and Rest In Peace thereafter.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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