American Valor
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Robert BushRobert Bush

Born: October 4, 1926
Tacoma, Washington

War: World War II

Rank: Hospital Apprentice First Class, US Naval Reserve (serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company)

Location of action: Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands

Date of action: May 2, 1945

Medal received from: President Harry Truman, October 5, 1945

Official 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.

Bob Bush was born in Tacoma, Washington and entered the military in 1943 at age 17. He dropped out of high school and went to Idaho for basic training in the Naval Medical Corps. Less than a year later he was disembarking an amphibious assault vehicle going ashore at Okinawa Japan for what became the longest bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater of WWII. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.

Injured in battle, Bush was shipped to Hawaii for treatment and then sent home. He re-entered high school and married his high school sweetheart. At 19-years-old the newlyweds took the train across country to Washington D.C. for Bush to receive the Medal from President Harry S. Truman.

Bush enrolled in classes at the University of Washington and then bought a small lumber company and spent the next 50 years building it in into a multi-million dollar business.

Several monuments have been built in Bush’s honor: a statue depicting him in action located in his hometown of South Bend, Washington; the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital, located in Twentynine Palms, California and the Bush Health Care Clinic, located in Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan.

Of Note:
Tom Brokaw has a chapter about Bob Bush in his book “The Greatest Generation”.

©2003 GWETA