21-Hornet Flypast At Bush Interment
Rather than a 21-gun salute, the Navy’s planned tribute to the late President George H.W. Bush could be called a 21-top-gun salute. The Navy is planning a 21-aircraft missing man formation for the interment ceremony of the former president at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, on Thursday. It’s the largest-ever missing man formation attempted by the Navy. Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, deployed a total of 30 F/A-18 Super Hornets for the mission and they arrived in Texas on Tuesday.
Bush was a torpedo bomber pilot in the Pacific Theatre in the Second World War and had to bail out of his aircraft when it was shot down in 1944. He was rescued by a submarine and rejoined his unit aboard USS San Jacinto and flew a total of 58 missions, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. “In addition to being our president, he was also one of our brothers, flying combat missions off aircraft carriers during World War II,” said Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic. “His service to our Navy and nation merits a tribute of this magnitude.” The lead aircraft has been painted with Bush's name under the pilot's seat and his late wife Barbara's name under the backseater's canopy.