June 12, 1924
Marriage: Barbara Pierce
Military service: He served in World War II, flew 58 combat missions and survived enemy anti-aircraft fire south of Japan that brought down his plane in the ocean (this sentence as published has been corrected in this text).
Term: Jan. 20, 1989 - Jan. 20, 1993
Vice president: James Danforth Quayle
Highlights of presidency: Reversing a campaign promise not to raise taxes and cut a growing budget deficit, Bush created tax hikes in 1991 on gasoline, cigarettes and beer, and on luxury items such as furs, jewels, boats and private aircraft, outraging conservatives and fueling a worsening recession. He signed into law a 30-year, $300 billion comprehensive plan to bail out insolvent savings and loan institutions. In June 1989, Poland elected its first non-Communist government since World War II; on Nov. 9, the gates in the Berlin Wall were opened; and in August 1991 the Soviet Union began its collapse, ending the Cold War. On Dec. 20, 1989, Bush invaded Panama to overthrow the corrupt regime of Gen. Manuel Noriega, the de facto leader who was wanted in Florida on drug trafficking charges. Noriega eventually surrendered, stood trial in Florida and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, and Bush mounted Operation Desert Shield with diplomacy and an economic embargo. In January 1991, Bush launched Operation Desert Storm with a massive aerial bombardment of Baghdad; he suspended hostilities on Feb. 27.
Did you know? He was the first president born in the month of June. Because of the 25th Amendment, Bush became the first vice president ever to serve as acting president when Reagan underwent surgery for more than seven hours in 1985. He is distantly related to Benedict Arnold, Winston Churchill and Presidents Pierce, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Gerald Ford. Bush is the only president to have served as chairman of his political party. He is the first vice president elected president since Martin Van Buren in 1836. Bush also served as a U.S. House member, 1967-1971; U.S. ambassador to the UN, 1971-1973; chairman of the Republican National Committee, 1973-1974; chief U.S. liaison in China, 1974-1975; director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1976-1977; and vice president, 1981-1989. He is the second president whose son became president; John Adams was the first.