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Ex-President Bush makes birthday parachute jump

June 9, 1999
Web posted at: 2:40 p.m. EDT (1840 GMT)

Bush
Former President George Bush makes his second parachute jump since WWII  

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AllPolitics, June 9) -- Proving that "old guys can still do stuff," former President George Bush kicked off his upcoming 75th birthday with a 12,500 foot parachute jump Wednesday. (252K wav file)

The jump -- his third -- landed Bush on the lawn in front of his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, about 90 miles northwest of Houston.

Bush, whose birthday is Saturday, described his free fall as "a euphoric high," adding "to end up landing safely ... you just feel wonderful."

"We were rolling around in the sky, unlike the first jump and it was heaven. It was just exhilarating," he said. (344K wav file)

Bush
A smiling Bush is greeted by onlookers upon landing  
Bush, grinning broadly as he landed, was greeted with applause from onlookers and a kiss from his wife, Barbara. (144K wav file)

Asked before the jump if it would be his last, Mrs. Bush responded: "You bet."

But then she hedged. "I'm going to announce it right now: He's going to jump when he's 80." The former president also guessed that he might make another jump on that milestone. (88K wav file)

As a precaution, two ambulances were parked across the street from the landing site. Bush was guided by a ground control and two expert jump masters.

Bush
Bush speaks to the press after his jump  

"I was in the hands of the best," Bush said.

Immediately after his landing, the former president was saluted by a military skydive team that linked up to form the initials "G.B." and the number "75" with their bodies as they fell to the ground.

Bush's first jump 54 years ago was unplanned. It took place during World War II, when his torpedo bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire south of Japan. Bush managed to bail out of his burning plane but his two crewmen were killed.

HIs second jump was two years ago, in Arizona. He said then he had promised himself after his wartime jump that someday he would parachute for fun.


RELATED STORIES

Former President Bush honored at emotional ceremony renaming CIA headquarters (4-26-99)

The Presidency: Bush's Final Salute (TIME, 3-31-99)

Keeping a promise, Bush takes the plunge (3-26-97)


RELATED SITES

Texas A&M University Web site

George Bush Presidential Library



MORE STORIES:

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

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