Category Archives: Military History

President George H.W. Bush's Naval Service

President George H.W. Bush’s Naval Service


Among America’s few seafaring presidents, former President George H.W. Bush passed away Nov. 30 at his Houston, Texas home at the age of 94. Bush enlisted in the US Naval Reserve June 13, 1942 on his 18th birthday after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He had preflight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and became one of the youngest naval aviators. He was commissioned as an ensign in the US Naval Reserve June 9, 1943, days before his 19th birthday.

Bush was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on USS San Jacinto, part of Task Force 58 which participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June 1944. The task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. Returning from the mission, his aircraft had to make a forced water landing, and then rescued by the destroyer, USS Clarence K. Bronson. On July 25, Ensign Bush and another pilot received credit for sinking a small cargo ship.

President George H.W. Bush's Naval Service

President George H.W. Bush’s Naval Service


During his service as a Navy pilot, Bush had a hit on his aircraft and was rescued by a submarine. According to Naval History and Heritage Command archives, after Bush was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade Aug. 1, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands, 600 miles south of Japan. Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chi Chi Jima in Sept. 1944. Although Bush’s aircraft was hit and his engine caught fire during the attack, he was able to complete the mission and bail out successfully. He was rescued by a Navy submarine, the USS Finback. Tragically, his two crew members were killed.

Naval History and Heritage Command archives also state that Bush returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines. When San Jacinto returned to Guam, the squadron, which had suffered 50 percent casualties of its pilots, was replaced and sent to the United States. Throughout 1944, Bush had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded San Jacinto. Bush was reassigned to Norfolk and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. Later, he was assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153. With the surrender of Japan, he was honorably discharged in September 1945, and then he entered Yale University. (U.S. Navy video/Released)

President George H.W. Bush's Naval Service

President George H.W. Bush’s Naval Service

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JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms

JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms


From 1968, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) purchased a total of 140 F-4EJ Phantoms without aerial refueling, AGM-12 Bullpup missile system, nuclear control system or ground attack capabilities. Mitsubishi built 138 under license in Japan and 14 unarmed reconnaissance RF-4Es were imported. One of the aircraft (17-8440) was the very last of the 5,195 F-4 Phantoms to be produced. It was manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on 21 May 1981. “The Final Phantom” served with 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron and later transferred to the 301st Tactical Fighter Squadron.

JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms

JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms


Of these, 96 F-4EJs were modified to the F-4EJ Kai (the suffix “Kai” means “extra” or “augmented”)standard. 15 F-4EJs were converted to reconnaissance aircraft designated RF-4EJ, with similar upgrades as the F-4EJ Kai. The F-4EJ Kai is fitted with the Westinghouse AN/APG-66J pulse-Doppler radar, which is much smaller and lighter than the original APQ-120, but has more operating modes with better lookdown, shootdown capability. Externally, the installation of the new radar can be distinguished by the presence of a new radome which has fore and aft strengthening ribs.The F-4EJ Kai has a a new central computer, a Kaiser heads-up display, a Hazeltine AN/APZ-79 IFF system, and a license-built Litton LN-39 inertial navigation unit.
JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms

JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms


A new J/APR-6 radar homing and warning system is fitted. Twin aft-facing radomes for this system are mounted on the fin tip and forward-facing antennae are mounted on the wingtips. A new, much taller UHF blade antenna is mounted on the dorsal spine, and the lower UHF antenna on the undercarriage door is larger in size. These are about the only externally-visible distinguishing points between the F-4EJ and the F-4EJ Kai. The aircraft often carries a 610-US gallon F-15 fuel tank on the centerline. This tank is stressed to take higher g-loads than was the original F-4 centerline tank.
JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms

JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms


The F-4EJ Kai can launch the AIM-7E/F Sparrow and the AIM-9L/P Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. In addition, the F-4EJ Kai can carry and launch the Mitsubishi ASM-1 antiship missile. This missile has a launch weight of about 1345 pounds and is powered by a Nissan Motors solid rocket engine. It has midcourse guidance provided by an inertial system acting in conjunction with a radar altimeter which maintains an altitude just above the tops of the waves during the final run-in to the target. Terminal guidance is provided by an active radar seeker mounted in the nose. A 440-pound high-explosive warhead is carried. The F-4EJ Kai can also carry the Westinghouse AN/ALQ-131 advanced multimode electronic countermeasures pod. This pod has a wide range of modules and has reprogrammable software which make it capable of quickly countering new threats.
JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms

JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms


The goals of the program were to bring JASDF F-4EJs up to standards appropriate for the 1990s and to extend their service lives well into the 21st century. Japan had a fleet of 90 F-4s in service in 2007. After studying several replacement fighters the F-35 Lightning II was chosen in 2011. Delays with the F-35 program have meant that some F-4s have remained in service. As of 2017 all three of the JASDF’s remaining Phantom squadrons are based at Hyakuri Air Base in Ibaraki prefecture north of Tokyo. Some F-4s are also operated by the Air Development and Test Wing in Gifu Prefecture.
JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms

JASDF F-4EJ Phantoms