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Robert Eugene Bush
Robert Eugene Bush
Born (1926-10-04)October 4, 1926
Died November 8, 2005(2005-11-08) (aged 79)
Place of birth Tacoma, Washington
Place of death Olympia, Washington
Place of burial Fern Hill Cemetery, Menlo, Washington
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1944 - 1945
Rank Hospital Apprentice First Class
Unit 2nd Battalion 5th Marines
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Okinawa
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

President Truman presenting the Medal of Honor to Robert E. Bush

Robert Eugene Bush (October 4, 1926 – November 8, 2005) was a United States Navy Hospital Corpsman during World War II, who received the Medal of Honor, the United States highest award for gallantry, during the Battle of Okinawa.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Bush joined the Navy Hospital Corps in 1944. He participated in the invasion of Okinawa and was wounded during an attack on a rifle company that he was on patrol with on May 2, 1945. At 18 years of age, for his gallantry at Okinawa, Bush was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman in a White House ceremony on October 5, 1945.[1]

Postwar[edit | edit source]

After the war, he returned to finish high school and to marry his high school sweetheart, Wanda. He later studied business administration at the University of Washington. He founded the Bayview Lumber Company at South Bend, Washington in 1951 and Bayview Redi-Mix at Elma, WA, building both into multi-million dollar businesses. Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw wrote a chapter about Bush in his World War II book The Greatest Generation (1998).

As well as his business affairs, Bush was active in championing veterans' causes, and served for a time as President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.[2] He attended the inaugurations of every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, excepting that of Lyndon B. Johnson, who didn't invite Medal of Honor recipients. He is not related to either President Bush.

Robert and Wanda Bush were the parents of three sons and a daughter. He died from cancer on November 8, 2005, in Olympia, Washington, aged 79. His wife predeceased him in 1999, and a son, Larry, died in 1986. At the time of his death he was survived by three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was buried in Fern Hill Cemetery, Menlo, Washington.

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Rank and organization: Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Naval Reserve, serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.
Place and date: Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, May 2, 1945.
Entered service at: Washington.
Born: October 4, 1926, Tacoma, Wash. Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Fearlessly braving the fury of artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire from strongly entrenched hostile positions, Bush constantly and unhesitatingly moved from one casualty to another to attend the wounded falling under the enemy's murderous barrages. As the attack passed over a ridge top, Bush was advancing to administer blood plasma to a marine officer lying wounded on the skyline when the Japanese launched a savage counterattack. In this perilously exposed position, he resolutely maintained the flow of life-giving plasma. With the bottle held high in one hand, Bush drew his pistol with the other and fired into the enemy's ranks until his ammunition was expended. Quickly seizing a discarded carbine, he trained his fire on the Japanese charging pointblank over the hill, accounting for six of the enemy despite his own serious wounds and the loss of one eye suffered during his desperate battle in defense of the helpless man. With the hostile force finally routed, he calmly disregarded his own critical condition to complete his mission, valiantly refusing medical treatment for himself until his officer patient had been evacuated, and collapsing only after attempting to walk to the battle aid station. His daring initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in service of others reflect great credit upon Bush and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.[3]

Other honors[edit | edit source]

The Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital in Twentynine Palms, California was named in his honor, as was the Bush Health Care Clinic, located at Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan. In 1998, a monument depicting his actions on Okinawa was erected in a park named for him in his hometown of South Bend, Washington, which named a street after him as well.

A Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to Bush for Veterans Day in 1999, recognizing him as one of five Medal of Honor recipients from the Southern California desert area.[4]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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