Which former U.S. president has a remarkable ‘lone survivor’ tale?

History is about so much more than memorizing facts. It is about the story. And, told in the right way, it is the greatest one ever written: Good and evil, triumph and tragedy, despicable acts of barbarism and courageous acts of heroism. Glenn’s latest book, Miracles and Massacres, is history as you’ve never heard it told. It’s incredible events that you never knew existed. And it’s stories so important and relevant to today that you won’t have to ask: Why didn’t they teach me this? 

While this story was ultimately left on the cutting room floor, Glenn shared this incredible ‘lone survivor’ tale on radio this morning.

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The bomber pilot was only 20 years old, but after all he’d seen by 1944, he felt like he was 80.

His targets on this mission were two radio installations in the mountains of a tiny island north of Iwo Jima. In those days there was no such thing as a guided missile or a smart bomb. You put the target in your iron sights, flew straight through all the flak and gunfire the enemy could throw at you and then, at the last critical second, you released your bombs on target.

The minute the bombing run began the enemy sent up a solid wall of anti-aircraft shells. With his eyes fixed on his target the pilot couldn’t see the other crews struggling to bail out as their planes were hit and spiraled down in flames.

His plane suddenly lurched and shuddered, fatally wounded, but still he held the course. As the cockpit filled with smoke the critical second came and he released his bombs toward a direct hit.

Only then did the pilot’s thoughts turn to survival for himself and his crew.

As the engine fire spread the pilot managed to fly several miles over open water before finally giving the order for his crew to abandon the plane. He clawed his way out of the cockpit and fell onto the wing, pulled the ripcord of his ‘chute and smashed into the tail as he was torn free of the plummeting craft. The next thing he knew he was in the churning water, dazed and pulling himself into his survival raft.

In the aftermath, all of the other airmen on the mission died at the hands of the enemy. Their treatment was so brutal that several of their captors were tried and hanged after the war was over. But the pilot survived.

He returned to active duty, and when all was said and done, he’d flown 58 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. When he returned home he married his sweetheart, and graduated college in only two-and-a-half years while captaining the Yale baseball team in the first-ever College World Series.

In later years he excelled in business, and then in politics, and to make a long story short – ultimately this lone survivor became the 41st President of the United States: George H. W. Bush.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    That would of been a great one to put in and should of.

  • Anonymous

    Ironically, the last President who served in combat, realized the enormous complexities of being the commander-in-chief of the worlds number one military power. Since then, our leaders have become as little children, making decisions based on personal feelings, rather than world history.

  • Anonymous

    The last truly qualified President. One of the qualifications for the Presidency ought to be service in the military, if for no other reason, the boob knows what he’s doing when he sends soldiers to do his bidding.

    What one learns as a community organizer or, as we used to call them, rabble rouser, is …………………………….

    Ahhh, never mind.

  • http://www.absoluteintensity.com dennis reilly

    he did some great things and was commended for them, but he sucked as a politician, in fact they all suck, but we are so to embrace them

  • Elena

    And ultimately, he was rescued by a USN submarine.

  • Elena

    Bush-43 served in the military, just not combat. There is such a time as peace time! I agree — if physically qualified, all Presidents and all of Congress should have served in the military.

  • soybomb315

    George H W Bush was a progressive…..What – you didnt know, Glenn?

  • soybomb315

    Not to mention head of the CIA – what a great organization….

  • soybomb315

    I think only parents who have had a son killed in war should be allowed to be president…..But that’s just me

  • Anonymous

    I suspect that your statement is made having a dash of sarcasm.

    If I’m correct, I’ll agree with you.

    Whenever men set aside the principles set down by God, for men to follow, trust and honesty are the first precepts to go.

    The idea of having a central intelligence agency to begin with, implies, a lack of faith in God. An understanding and mutual agreement between men, that his (God) ways, are somehow not trustworthy. Men, instead, would rather direct their own course verses rely on an invisible God.

    Therefore, what often times starts out with very good intentions, ends up traveling south in a hurry.

  • Sea Rock

    … his fate, that could have been …

    … The target was a Japanese radio station on ChiChi Jima, located about 600 miles southwest of Japan in the Bonin Islands. For a time, the enemy on that tiny island had been intercepting U.S. military radio transmissions and warning Japan and occupied enemy islands of impending American air strikes …

    The Knights of Bushido: A History of Japanese War Crimes During World War II by Russell of Liverpool ISBN-10: 1602391459 ISBN-13: 978-1602391451

    … Yoshio Tachibana (立花 芳夫 Tachibana Yoshio?, 24 February 1890 – 24 September 1946) was a lieutenant general of the Japanese Imperial Army. He was commander of the Japanese troops in Chichijima, Ogasawara Islands, and was held responsible for the “Chichijima Incident” a war crime involving torture, extrajudicial execution and cannibalism of Allied prisoners of war …

    … By mid-1945, due to the Allied naval blockade, Japanese troops on Chichijima had run low on supplies and were starving, so Tachibana’s senior staff turned to cannibalism. In August 1944 [1] and February/March 1945 [2] in what came to be known later as the “Ogasawara Incident”, Tachibana, known to his staff as a sadistic, alcoholic commander, issued an order that all American prisoners of war (downed aviators) be killed.[3]

    Two prisoners were beheaded in a public ceremony and per an account in Time Magazine, their livers were immediately cut from their bodies and served as sukiyaki .[4] It was not disputed that eight prisoners of war were executed, and some of the bodies were butchered by the division’s medical orderlies and portions were eaten by the senior staff of the Japanese garrison …