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Many know him as the famous father of a more recent POTUS, while others only remember him from that time he moved across the street from The Simpsons. Either way, we’re here to set the record straight when it comes to the 41st president of the United States.
Welcome to Watchmojo.com, and today we're counting down the top 5 surprisingly badass facts about George H.W. Bush.
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5. He played a role in Richard Nixon’s resignation.
During his lengthy political career, Bush Senior wore many hats, from his time as the US ambassador to the United Nations to his role as CIA director. The man was capable of occupying numerous positions while functioning at an extremely high level of efficiency.
However, it was during his time as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1973 to 74 that Bush was faced with an unprecedented dilemma. President Nixon had gotten himself tangled up in what’s now known as the Watergate scandal. As chairman, it was Bush’s responsibility to issue a formal request that Nixon resigned the presidency. Two days after Bush sent that letter, Nixon officially stepped down on August 9th, 1974.
On our badass checklist, helping to kick an infamously corrupt president out of office definitely earns a checkmark.
4. He was a cheerleader.
Okay, so maybe you don’t consider this badass, per se, but it’s still interesting. Today, cheerleading is primarily associated with women in skimpy costumes waving pom-poms at football games; however, in the early 20th century, to be a Yale cheerleader was to be a shining example of masculinity and success.
As a cheerleader, you had the ability to rally a crowd at will with the potential to raise the spirits of those in attendance. This function cannot be understated, as the roaring of the crowd could often influence the outcome of a game. As such, cheerleaders were respected members of the student body.
As a matter of fact, H.W., his father Prescott, and his son George W. all occupied this prestigious position while attending Yale.
3. He was a star athlete.
It may be hard to fathom, but at one point in his life, H.W. was a young man. In fact, he was a young man with energy to spare. After returning from service in World War II, Bush was accepted to Yale University. While working towards a degree in economics, Bush managed to make the Yale baseball team. He excelled as a left-handed first baseman and was eventually named team captain.
As if that weren’t impressive enough, Bush managed to lead his squad to two consecutive College World Series appearances. It was during this time that he got to meet an aging and very sick Babe Ruth. The two posed for a photo together before a game with Bush later remarking that despite his cancer, Babe was still there and very much alive.
2. His plane was shot down during World War II.
Known to some as the greatest generation, the men and women who fought in World War II were some of the bravest individuals to ever walk the earth. A shining member of their ranks was the eventual US President, George Herbert Walker Bush. An 18-year old Bush became a pilot in 1942 and an ensign in the Naval Reserve the following year, a feat that made him the youngest aviator in the entire Navy at that point.
After being deployed to the Pacific Theater, Bush had his plane shot down by Japanese soldiers on September 2nd 1944. A badass through and through however, the young pilot still managed to eliminate his target, a radio station, before parachuting from his plane. Sadly, however, all of his fellow crew members died in the action.
Rescued soon after by an American submarine, Bush would go on to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic actions.
1. He celebrated his 80th, 85th, and 90th birthdays by skydiving.
If we’re talking about feats of badassery, then it doesn’t get much better than jumping out of an airplane—especially when most people your age are watching TV in a nursing home. Yet that’s exactly what Bush did. Eight times. Maybe it was the leftover adrenaline from his time in the military, but the former POTUS just couldn’t seem to hang up his parachute.
In fact, Bush used his skydiving exploits as birthday celebrations and marked his 80th, 85th, and 90th birthdays by jumping out of a plane. If that’s not cool enough, he also tweeted about it before making his final jump on June 12, 2014. His time the White House may have been over, but he was still an inspiration to thrill-seekers everywhere.
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