On this day, September 2, 1944, Navy pilot George Bush is shot down into enemy waters during World War II.
George Bush joined the Navy on June 12, 1942, on his 18th birthday. He received his commission on June 9, 1943, becoming the youngest naval aviator of the time. During World War II, Bush flew torpedo bombers, completing 58 missions.
On a run over Chichi Jima in 1944, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Bush bailed out and was rescued by a Navy submarine, but tragically, his two crew members were killed. For his service during WWII, Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.
Photos: Downed pilot George Bush is rescued by the Navy submarine, USS Finback. 9/2/44; Navy Pilot portrait, WWII; USS Finback.
"Damn the Torpedoes!"
From the series: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes
A combined assault by a Federal fleet commanded by Rear Admiral David Farragut and Union infantry forces defeated a Confederate fleet and the 3 forts defending Mobile Bay, Alabama on August 5, 1864 (the forts would fall several days later following a short siege). The loss would deprive the Confederacy of one of its last major ports. (Farragut had captured New Orleans two years before.)
During the battle Farragut is widely reported to have ordered his ships forward despite the threat of submerged mines (then called torpedoes), calling out “Damn the Torpedoes, Go Ahead!" or more likely: "Damn the Torpedoes, Four Bells…”
The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident:
Fifty years ago on August 2, 1964, three North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Maddox and aircraft from the USS Ticonderoga damaged all three hostile boats, almost sinking one. Following reports of a second alleged incident two days later, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave President Lyndon B. Johnson advance approval to respond to military aggression in Southeast Asia without congressional consultation, and leading to an escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
- Map of the U.S.S. Maddox Incident, 08/02/1964 - 08/07/1964
- Photographs of North Vietnamese Torpedo Boat Approaching the U.S.S. Maddox During the Gulf of Tonkin Incident
- Deck Log of the U.S.S. Maddox, 08/02/1964
The original Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is on display in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building from July 15 to August 7, 2014.
It’s International Beer Day!
Navy personnel on liberty at Mogmog Island. Enlisted men lounge about a tiny island with plenty of beer. 11/1944
Charles Fenno Jacobs, photographer. From the series: General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958
So how will you celebrate? Pilsner? IPA? Stout? A nice Saison?
From the series: Correspondence Concerning Ships, 1937 - 1954. Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments, 1784 - 2000
#DDAY70 - D-DAY:
"USS Augusta (CA-31) off French coast during landing operations. Small landing craft are shown speeding towards the shore.”
Local Identifier: 80-G-45720. Record Group 80: General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1804 - 1983
More D-Day images in the new immersive D-Day exhibit from the National Archives on the Google Cultural Institute.
"Offshore the combined fleets swung into battle stations and marched up and down the coast softening the surviving German installations with a murderous barrage…"
Excerpted from: “D-Day to D plus 3." From the series: Moving Images Relating to Military Activities, compiled 1947 - 1964. Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985
Happy Fleet Week!
Sailors attached to USS IWO JIMA (LHD 7) gather together for an impromptu group shot while on liberty in Times Square during Fleet Week 2002. More than 6,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard personnel aboard 22 ships - including six warships returning from deployment in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, sail into New York City for the 15th Annual Fleet Week 2002, 05/22/2002
Calling All West Wing Fans
US Navy (USN) Lieutenant (LT) Eileen D’Andrea, (left), and Actor, Martin Sheen, discuss the set-up of a scene for the television show, “The West Wing,” being filmed inside the garden of the historic St. Anne’s Church, located in Annapolis, Maryland (MD), 05/10/2004
Pennant of the USS Akron, ca. 1931
USS Akron was a U.S. Navy Airship built in 1931 that crashed into the sea during a storm on April 4, 1933, off the coast of New Jersey. This pennant was sent to FDR in January 1942, by Fred C. Muttersbach of Vallejo, California.
Be sure to see some of our earlier posts on the Akron, including footage of her in flight:
Burial services of sailors recovered from the Battleship Maine, held at the south end of the State, War, and Navy Department Building, March 23, 1912. Washington, DC. 3/23/1912
Records of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital. National Archives Identifier: 513477
The victim of a mysterious explosion on February 15, 1898, the USS Maine sank in Havana harbor with 260 of her crew, and hastened the start of the Spanish-American War. In 1912 the ship was raised in order to recover the bodies of the crewmen and clear the wreckage from the harbor.
Read More about the legacy of the USS Maine at Prologue…
"Negro sailors of the USS MASON commissioned at Boston Navy Yard 20 March 1944 proudly look over their ship which is first to have predominantly Negro crew."
From the series: General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958
The USS Mason was one of only two ships during World War II with predominately African American crews. The experiences of the USS Mason’s crew would later be dramatized in the film Proud (2004).
More images of the USS Mason and her crew at the U.S. Navy’s History and Heritage site.
In March of 1794, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the “Act to provide a Naval Armament.” It authorized the President to acquire six frigates, four of 44 guns each and two of 36 guns each, by purchase or otherwise. In addition, it specified how many crew members would be necessary and what their pay and daily rations would be.
Read more about the New U.S. Navy
Senate Draft of an “Act to provide a Naval Armament” March 18, 1794; Records of the U.S. Senate; Record Group 46
At the US Naval Facility at El Centro, California (CA), the US Navy (USN) flight demonstration team, “Blue Angels” fly their F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft into their signature diamond formation during their first air show of the 2006 season, 03/11/2006
Item from Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. (1994 -)
The National Archives’ new exhibition “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” opens to the public on March 21, 2014, allowing the public to view a variety of signatures that significantly contributed to the American narrative.