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The life and times of George H.W. Bush
Leader of an American political dynasty, George Bush’s influence was felt beyond his terms as president and vice president. Take a look back at his life and career.
George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, was born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Mass. Soon after, the family moved to Greenwich, Conn. His father, Prescott Bush, was a railroad and steel executive who went on to become a U.S. Senator from Connecticut. The future president is seen here with his sister Mercy in 1929.
Bush was the second of five chidlren and part of an influential and affluent family. He is seen here (top left) with his father, Prescott (center), and other family members in this undated photo. Bush went to the prestigious Phillips Academy boarding school in Andover, Mass., before joining the Navy as an aviator soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Joining the Navy just out of high school, Bush became the service's youngest aviator at age 19, seeing considerable action in the Pacific. In 1944 the aircraft he was piloting was hit by flak and he was forced to bail into the ocean, where he waited for four hours in a rubber raft until being rescued. Bush flew 58 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and several other medals. He was honorably discharged at the end of the war, having married Barbara Pierce in January 1945.
A Yale man
Like his father and several other forbears, Bush attended Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Because of his war service, he was enrolled in an accelerated program that enabled him to graduate in 1948. At Yale he was active in sports, playing first base for the college's team and taking part in the first two College World Series. Like his father (and his eldest son, George Walker Bush), he became a member of the secretive Skull and Bones Society. He graduated with a degree in economics.
Oilman turns to politics
After Yale, Bush moved to Midland, Texas, where his father had connections in the oil industry. After a couple of years working for someone else, Bush started his own drilling and exploration company, which was soon lucrative and made him a rich man in his own right. After about a decade, though, his ambitions turned to politics, and after an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1964, he won a Congressional seat in 1966. He is seen with his wife, Barbara, during one of his campaigns during the 1960s.
In 1970, President Nixon persuaded Bush to run for the U.S. Senate, a race he lost. Nixon then appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a job he held for two years. Following Nixon's resignation, President Ford appointed Bush as a special envoy to China, where he is seen with wife Barbara in 1974.
In January 1976, Ford appointed Bush as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Both are seen here at the swearing-in ceremony. But the job was to last less than a year because Ford was defeated by Jimmy Carter in the November general election and Carter declined to keep him in the position. Bush then returned to private life in Texas.
Push for president
In the late '70s, Bush decided that he wanted to be president and began traveling the country in an attempt to drum up support. He entered the Republican primaries in early 1980 and had some early success before being defeated by Ronald Reagan. Here, he peeks around a partition displaying a poster of Reagan during an event in Columbia, S.C. At the convention later that year, Reagan selected Bush to be his running mate, placing him on the winning Republican presidential ticket.
In 1984, Reagan and Bush were reelected for a second term, beating Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro. Here, Bush greets Ferraro, the first woman vice-presidential candidate, before the beginning of their October 1984 debate. The event was to prove contentious, with Ferraro accusing Bush of having a "patronizing attitude" and fiercely defending her pro-choice view on abortion.
The wall falls
One of the major events of Bush's presidency was the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Here, thousands of young East Berliners gather near the Brandenburg Gate after Guenter Schabowski, the East Berlin Communist party boss, declared that East Germans would be free to leave the country.
Another regime change came in December 1989 when American forces removed Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega from power. Here, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney stands by as General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefs reporters about the operation.
Bush and Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev laugh during a July 1991 press conference in Moscow that concluded a two-day summit on nuclear disarmament. A month later, Gorbachev was under house arrrest after a coup. Though he was restored to power, the Soviet Union crumbled and Gorbachev left office in December.
Bush looks on as Clarence Thomas takes the oath to become a justice of the United States Supreme Court during a ceremony at the White House in October 1991. Holding the bible is Clarence's wife, Virginia. Thomas's confirmation came after contentious Senate hearings that included allegations of sexual harassment.
Presidential candidates Bill Clinton, Ross Perot and George Bush shake hands with panelists after the conclusion of their final presidential debate in October 1992. Perot's strong showing in the election, as well as fallout from Bush's broken "Read my lips -- no new taxes" pledge, were keys to Clinton's win.
Nabobs of NAFTA
Bush caps his pen after signing the North American Free Trade Agreement at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington D.C., in December 1992. Looking on are Mexican Ambassador Gustavo Petricioli, left, U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills and Canadian Ambassador Derek Burney.
Aftermath of an assassination attempt
An Iraqi resident walks through the rubble of his home in Baghdad in June 1993 after a U.S. cruise missile strike on Iraqi intelligence headquarters.The attack was in retaliation for an alleged Iraqi plot to assassinate former President George Bush in Kuwait in April.
All the President's socks
Former President George H.W. Bush wears American flag socks on April 17, 2013 as he presents roses to the new Houston Texans cheerleaders during a ceremony introducing the new squad at the team's NFL football training facility in Houston. GW Bush has always had a penchant for colorful socks.
From left, President Barack Obama, former president George W. Bush, former president William J. Clinton former President George H.W. Bush and former president Jimmy Carter arrive for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on April 25, 2013, in Dallas.
Former President George H.W. Bush, strapped to Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a retired member of the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, prepare to land on the lawn at St. Anne's Episcopal Church while celebrating Bush's 90th birthday in Kennebunkport, Maine, on June 12, 2014.
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush sits in Walker's Point, Maine as he joined members of his Secret Service detail in shaving his head on July 24, 2013after to show support for Patrick, (surname being withheld per family's request), the two year-old son of a detail member who is being treated for leukemia and started losing his hair.