PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – President George H. W. Bush spent decades serving our country, not only as a politician but as a member of the Navy.
“The reason he has a tie here, he has a bond with all Naval Aviators,” said Joseph Williamson, Captain Supply Corp. United States Navy, Retired.
Williamson retired from the United States Navy after 32 years. So he understands serving your country for decades.
“He was one of my favorite Presidents,” said Williamson.
He was saddened to hear of the former President’s death. “But also the happy part of it, is he’s going to be able to join his wife,” added Williamson.
President Bush enlisted in the Navy when he was 18. “He was arguably the youngest Navy pilot in WWII,” said Williamson. He added, “Pensacola is where all the naval aviators were trained early on, and he came here.”
At the National Naval Aviation Museum, they display the plane in which the former President learned to fly, alongside his flight log for that plane, as well as his history in the service.
“We have an identical copy of the plane he got shot down on,” said Williamson.
The President maintained a close bond with the Navy throughout his life.
When Williamson retired from the Navy, he wanted a letter from a President who had also served in the Navy.
“Told him I was retiring after 32 years in the Navy and I would appreciate a note. And about 4 months later, in came a note, and it was written by his staff, and he wrote a hand thing over, ‘I appreciate everybody who served in the United States Navy, thank you for your service.’ Personal note. He wrote hundreds of those to people all across the country, and I happened to be one of those,” said Williamson.
He continued, “I don’t think you could find a better person or better man to represent not only the Navy, but the country.”