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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Bush

Birthplace: Tacoma, WA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 1st Class

Home of Record: WA
Middle Name: Eugene

Date of Birth: 04 October 1926

Date of Death: 08 November 2005

Rank or Rate: Petty Officer First Class

Years Served: 1944 - 1945
Robert Eugene Bush

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Robert Eugene Bush
Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Navy
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Hospital Apprentice First Class Robert Eugene Bush (4 October 1926 - 8 November 2005) was a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman during World War II, who received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest award for valor, during the Battle of Okinawa.

Robert Eugene Bush was born on 4 October 1926 in Tacoma, WA. He joined the Navy Medical Corps in 1943. He participated in the invasion of Okinawa and was wounded while on patrol with a rifle company on 2 May 1945.

Medal of Honor

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, 2 May 1945.

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 1 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 1 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 6 of the enemy despite his own serious wounds and the loss of 1 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.

At 18 years of age, Bush was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman in a White House ceremony on 5 October 1945.


After the war, Bush 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, WA, 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).

In addition to his business affairs, Bush was active in championing veterans' causes, and served for a time as President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. 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.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart


Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital in Twentynine Palms, CA, 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, WA, which named a street after him as well.

• Bush was featured in Tom Brokaw's 1998 book, The Greatest Generation.

Death and Burial

Robert Eugene Bush died from cancer on 8 November 2005 in Olympia, WA. He was 79. His wife predeceased him on 4 January 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 is buried at Fern Hill Cemetery, Menlo, Pacific County, WA.

Honoree ID: 1315   Created by: MHOH




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