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  TBM-1C Avenger Bureau Number 46214 Tail 2x
USN
VT-51

Click For Enlargement
USN 1944

Pilot  Lt(jg) George H. W. Bush (rescued)
Radio  Lt(jg) William G. White, O-210562 (MIA / KIA) MN
Gunner  ARM2C John L. Delaney, 2049043 (MIA / KIA) RI

Ditched  September 2, 1944


Aircraft History
Built by General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as TBM-1C Avenger bureau number 46214. Assigned to the USS San Jacinto CVL-30 to squadron VT-51. No nose art or nickname.
Tail number 2x. The cowl had 2 painted in black on the side.

Mission History
On September 2, 1944 one of four Avengers from VT-51 that took off from USS San Jacinto CVL-30 piloted by Lt(jg) George H. W. Bush armed with four 500 pound bombs on a bombing mission against a radio installation on Chi Chi Jima. Aboard was John Delaney substituted for Bush's regular gunner, Leo Nadeau.

Over the target, the Avengers encountered intense anti-aircraft fire. Starting the attack, Bush's aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He released his bombs over his target claiming several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles away from the island, where he and one other crew member bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man's chute did not open and he fell to his death. It was never determined which man bailed (Delaney or White). Both were officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Fates of the Crew
Landing in the sea, Bush deployed his life raft and waited four hours while friendly fighters circled protectively overhead. Rescued by the lifeguard submarine, USS Finback (SS-230). For this action, Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). During remainder of the month, he was aboard Finback while it rescued other pilots.

Memorials
Delaney and White were officially declared dead on September 3, 1945. Both are memorialized at the court of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). White on court 2. Delaney on court 5.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - TBM-1C Avenger 46214
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List September 1944 - TBM-1C Avenger 46214
Navy Historical Center - Vice President Bush Calls World War II Experience "Sobering"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William G. White
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John L. Delaney
FindAGrave - LtJg William G White (court of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - John Lawson Delaney (courts of the missing photos)

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Last Updated
June 13, 2017

 

Tech Info
Avenger

MIA
MIA
2 Missing

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