Keeping a promise, Bush takes the plunge
The only U.S. president to parachute from a plane does it again
March 25, 1997
YUMA PROVING GROUND, Arizona (CNN) -- Watch very, very closely.
Of course, we've all seen people parachute out of airplanes. Maybe some of us have even considered doing it ourselves. But in this case, the former president of the United States, 72-year-old George Bush, is the one doing the jumping.
It seems the former president was just making good on a 53-year-old promise.
Back in World War II, Bush was fished out of the Pacific Ocean after parachuting from his bullet-torn torpedo bomber. While Bush was eventually awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, he promised himself he would one day take to the air all over again. Just for fun.
So, with the blessing of wife Barbara, Bush made the jump Tuesday from a civilian plane 12,500 feet over the Army Yuma Proving Ground.
Bush, the only American president ever to parachute from an airplane, sailed through the cloudless sky over the Arizona desert, deploying his orange, yellow and blue parachute at 4,500 feet. Two jump masters held a harness attached to Bush until he opened his chute.
And while his wife and a team of medical emergency personnel stood by, Bush made a picture-perfect landing, returning to the ground unharmed.
Bush began his eight-hour training with the U.S. Parachute Association after arriving with his wife in Yuma on Monday afternoon. The USPA provided his gear, making it clear that Bush's age was not a concern.
"He's in good health, fit and perfectly capable of doing it," said Madolyn Murdock of the USPA. "If he wasn't, we wouldn't be letting him do it."
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