Photograph, Lt. jg George Bush in plane titled “Barbara” George Bush graduated and joined the Navy on June 12, 1942 at the age of eighteen. During his time in the Navy he was a pilot, flying the Avenger Torpedo Bomber in combat from the USS San Jacinto. In September of 1944 his plane was shot down while making a bombing run and though he survived, his two crew members perished. George Bush earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals during his Navy service in the Pacific in World War II.