A Little Presidential - Reflecting on Presidents' Day

  • Published
  • By Maj. William-Joseph Mojica
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

 Celebrated on the third Monday in February, Presidents' Day was initially established in recognition of President George Washington however, over the course of time, this holiday is now a means to celebrate all U.S. presidents both past and present.

Unknown to many, within the waiting area outside of the command suite of the 934th Airlift Wing front office, hangs a wooden frame that has aged over the years and is often overlooked.

Within this quaint wooden frame are perfectly placed photos and excerpts, the likes of which can be missed unless a passerby happens to pause with intrigue and read through the contents. Atop the frame reads “George Bush trains at Naval Air Station Minneapolis, Minn.”

 A stunning collaboration, this tribute is small, yet heavy in symbolism, paying homage to the servicemember who would become the 41st President of the United States of America, George H. W. Bush. It also serves as a fitting reference for the President’s Day federal holiday.

Before Air Force Reserve Command had units at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 1948, U.S. Naval Aviation Cadet (AVCAD) V-5 George Bush roamed the installation which was then called U.S. Naval Air Station Minneapolis, Minn. from November 1942 until February 1943.

One excerpt within the frame pulled from the NAS Minneapolis, Minn. “Penguinews” of 1942-1943 jokingly highlights some of the extracurricular activities then cadet George Bush participated in: “Arthur and Bush [George H. W.] have set up their own private doughnut mass in one of the more inhabitable nooks of the ready-room.” After all, who doesn’t like doughnuts!

 A photo within the display shows the former president during his years as a cadet with his winter flight gear while at the then N.A.S. Minneapolis, Minn. Another photo depicts a static model of a Stearman N2S Bu. No. 5369 that was flown by the late president as a cadet on January 12, 1943. This very aircraft can be seen to this day at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla.

 On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.[1] 

For those who find themselves fortunate enough to visit the halls of the 934 AW headquarters building, stop by the second floor and take a look at this historical highlight.

[1] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/1600/presidents/georgehwbush