Cdr. Frank J. Bush (USN-RET) passed away on January 27, 2023, at the age of 76. Born to Frank, Sr. and Barbara Bush in Berkeley, CA on 30 June 1946, he graduated from San Francisco State College in 1969. He joined the U.S. Navy in October 1969 and reported for Aviation Officer Candidate School and basic aviation training in Pensacola, Fl.
Frank had met the love of his life, Laura Mahan, when they were teenagers and they were later married as he transferred from Pensacola, Fl. to Corpus Christi, Tx. to complete his basic aviation training.
Upon designation as a Naval Aviator in May 1971, his initial fleet assignment was to VAW 111 in San Diego, CA. flying the E-1B “Willy Fudd”. Frank completed two Vietnam combat cruises on the USS Oriskany.
Following assignment as a Recruiting Officer in San Diego February 1975 through June 1977, he completed transition to the E-2B “Hawkeye” at RVAW 110 in San Diego. Subsequently assigned to VAW 117 from January 1978 to August 1980, he completed two more combat cruises on the USS Ranger. He was then selected and served as an instructor pilot in RVAW 110, the E-2 Hawkeye aircrew training squadron, until January 1983. From February 1983 to February 1984, he served in VAW 116 for his department head tour, completing one cruise aboard USS Kitty Hawk during which he was selected for Command at Sea.
Frank attended various preparatory courses for his upcoming Commanding Officer responsibilities. In June 1984, he reported to VAW 113 as Executive Officer, then completed the tour as Commanding Officer in June 1987 having completed 2 cruises on the USS Constellation. Frank’s final U.S. Navy assignment was to the USS Constellation as assistant, then head of the Air Department until his retirement in August 1989. His military decorations include Meritorious Service Medal (2), Air Medal (3), Air Gallantry Cross, Meritorious Unit Commendation (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4), and the National Defense Service Medal.
In 1990, Frank became a commercial pilot for Northwest Airlines and flew the Boeing 727, DC-9 and 757 until his retirement in 2006. He returned to his home in Fieldbrook, CA. where he and Laura maintained a collection of horses, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, and a large garden. He continued to feed his passion for aviation by building an experimental Vans RV-9A aircraft – a hobby project he started in November 2008 and completed in August 2013.
Frank was a very active volunteer with the Fieldbrook Fire Department and was very active in the local trap and skeet club. He also enjoyed camper road trips around the southwest with Laura. Cdr. Bush is survived by his loving wife, Laura, and cherished daughter, Jessica Bush.