Update Your Profile

Stay up to date with all West Point news and stay connected with fellow grads

Update your Register Entry

Cullum Files

historical records

Class Notes

login required, available to graduates & widows




The Honorable George Bush has rendered a lifetime of extraordinary service to the United States and its citizens. As a highly decorated naval aviator, as a Congressman, as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, as Chief of the United States Liaison Office in Communist China, as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as Vice President and ultimately as our 41st President, his continuing selfless contributions in the national interest have exemplified the ideals of West Point, as expressed in its motto, "DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY."

George Bush's service to the nation was born in the crucible of World War II aerial combat.  Flying fifty-eight combat missions in the Pacific Theater as a torpedo bomber pilot, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for his courageous acts of gallantry.

A decade later, he reentered public service, winning election to Congress as Representative of the Seventh District of Texas.  During his two terms in office, he staunchly supported United States military intervention in Vietnam, headed the Republican Task Force on the Environment and forged an indelible reputation for political courage with his vigorous support of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, a bill highly unpopular with many of his constituents.

George Bush's contributions as a diplomat began with his appointment as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, where he led the fight to establish a two-China policy.  His efforts uniquely qualified him for his subsequent appointment as Chief of the United States Liaison Office to Communist China, where he played a key role in the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.

In 1975 President Ford appointed George Bush Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  In this post he resurrected a foundering agency, restoring its morale and revitalizing its effectiveness as the leading element of the United States Intelligence Community.

In 1980 George Bush was elected Vice President, continuing his lifelong preparation for the presidency.  As Vice President, he headed the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief and led the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System.  In 1985 he assumed the leadership of the nation's comprehensive program to combat international terrorism.

In 1988 George Bush was elected 41st President of the United States.  As President, he led the nation into the post cold war era. The sternest test of his national leadership came in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.  As Commander in Chief and as leader of the free world, he forged an international coalition of nations to halt Iraqi aggression in the Middle East.  He orchestrated the rapid deployment of US and allied military forces to defend Saudi Arabia.  When diplomatic efforts failed to achieve a peaceful withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, he launched Operation Desert Storm to eject and destroy these forces. Victory was incredibly swift, mercifully low in coalition casualties and resulted in the utter destruction  of the offensive capability of the Iraqi Armed Forces.  George Bush's leadership was masterful -- clearly the capstone of his Presidency and a standard for his successors to emulate.

George Bush has devoted a lifetime -- almost a half century -- to the service of his country.  His matchless record of achievement personifies uncommon dedication, honesty and patriotism and is in keeping with the finest traditions of American public service. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby presents the 1994 Sylvanus Thayer Award to the Honorable George Bush.


Local News Article
Reprint of Middletown Record Article by Ed Shannon dtd 6 OCT 94

President at Academy for award

West Point - Former President George Bush came to the U.S. Military Academy last night to pick up the Thayer Award and used the visit to warn the United States against turning its back on the rest of the world.

Noting that "many want us to shed the burden of leadership we shouldered during the Cold War," Bush said such a move would surely come back to haunt the country.

"We may be able to postpone a foreign policy day of reckoning, but we cannot avoid it," Bush said.  His remarks came during a 25-minute speech to a packed Washington Hall crowd that included the Academy's 4,200-member Corps of Cadets and about 300 guests.

Looking trim in a crisp blue suit, the 70-year-old Bush also cautioned against using the end of the Cold War as an excuse for slashing the country's military budget.  The call drew appreciative nods from the crowd of past, present and future Army officers.

"If we don't defend our interests and stand up for what we believe, no one else will," the former Navy fighter pilot said.  "Where we choose not to lead, no other country or institution is apt to magically appear."

Bush stressed that he did not believe the United States should be the world's "policeman," but more like a "sheriff" to "organize the posse, but not shoulder the burden ourselves."

He pointed to his own success in the Persian Gulf War as an example of how the United States can lead other nations against a hostile enemy.

And - in what sounded like a muted criticism of his successor, President Clinton - Bush said the country's image as the last true superpower will suffer from an indecisive foreign policy.

"Nothing undermines our credibility more than to be in flux," he said.

As for his forced retirement from public life, Bush said there was little that he missed.

"I darned sure don't miss the rough and tumble of politics that I used to thrive on," he said before launching into a line that drew loud applause from the crowd.  "I don't miss dealing with the national press, That has got to be the understatement of the year."

In receiving the Thayer Award, Bush became the third former President to be so honored; Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan also got the award.  Other honorees have included GEN Omar Bradley, evangelist Billy Graham and comedian Bob Hope.

The award - named for Sylvanus Thayer - has  been given by West Point graduates every year since 1958 to a United States citizen whose accomplishments embody the academy's motto:  "Duty, Honor, Country."

Thayer is considered the "Father of the Military Academy" because he laid the foundation for the institution's educational system, placing a special emphasis on engineering sciences.



George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in  Milton, Massachusetts.  Mr. Bush attended Phillips Academy, in  Andover, Massachusetts graduating on his 18th birthday.  That
same day, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  When he received his  wings and commission in June 1943, he was still 18 years old and the youngest pilot in the Navy at that time.

During World War II, Mr. Bush flew torpedo bombers off the USS  San Jacinto.  On September 2, 1944, Mr. Bush's plane was hit by  anti-aircraft fire while making a bombing run over the Bonin Island of  Chichi Jima, 600 miles south of Japan.  Although the plane was afire  and severely damaged, he completed his strafing run on the  targeted Japanese installation before flying towards the sea to bail  out.  For his courageous service in the Pacific Theater, Mr. Bush
was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.

Following World War II, Mr. Bush entered Yale University, where he  pursued a degree in economics and served as captain of the varsity  baseball team.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1948.  After his graduation, George and Barbara Bush moved to Texas, where he  worked as an oil field supply salesman for Dresser Industries.  Between 1951 and 1954, he co-founded three successive petroleum  companies.  The third firm, Zapata Off-Shore, pioneered the development of experimental offshore drilling equipment.

Following an unsuccessful bid for a Senate seat in 1964, Mr. Bush  was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966 from  Texas' 7th District.  One of the few freshman members of Congress  ever selected to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, he was reelected to the House two years later without opposition.

During the 1970's, Mr. Bush held a number of important leadership positions.  In 1971, he was named U.S. Ambassador to the United  Nations.  In 1973, he became Chairman of the Republican National  Committee.  In October 1974, Mr. Bush was appointed Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office during the critical period when the United States  was renewing ties with the People's Republic of China.  In 1976, Mr. Bush was appointed Director of Central Intelligence.  He is given credit for strengthening the intelligence community and restoring morale at the CIA while Director.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan selected George Bush to be his running mate.  On January 20, 1981, Mr. Bush was sworn in for the first of two terms as Vice President.  In that office, Mr. Bush coordinated Administration efforts to combat international terrorism and wage international war on drugs.  Vice President Bush also piloted a task force on regulatory relief, aimed at reducing government regulation and increasing American competitiveness.

In 1988, George Bush became his Party's nominee and the American people's choice to be the 41st President of the United States.  Mr. Bush's leadership proved critical to the resolution of some of the most daunting conflicts of our time:  The fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany; the end of the Cold War and the flowering of democracy in Eastern Europe; the emergence of a new partnership with Russia, anchored by the historic arms reduction treaties, START I and START II -- the first-ever agreements to dismantle and destroy strategic weapons since the advent of the nuclear age.

With the passing of the Cold War came new challenges.  In a vivid demonstration of post-Cold War possibilities for collective security, President Bush marshaled a 30-nation coalition to oppose Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.  Desert Storm stands as a testament to Presidential leadership -- and American resolve in an uncertain and often dangerous world.

On January 6, 1945, George married Barbara Pierce of Rye, New York. Today they are the parents of five children: George, John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy Bush Koch.  Their second child, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953.  The Bushes have 13 grandchildren.  President and Mrs. Bush reside in Houston, Texas.