Former marine pilot from Tri-States remembers Bush Family

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President George H.W. Bush holds a special place in the heart of a Detroit, Illinois, man who flew Marine One for four years during his son’s presidency.

In a white farmhouse in Detroit, Illinois, you’ll find Craig Rush, a pilot who flew Marine One during George W. Bush’s presidential term.

It wasn’t long before Rush found himself flying the entire Bush family– including George H.W. Bush.

“It was just amazing I think how good of people I think the Bush’s really were,” Rush said. “To be the status that they were, to be two presidents, and have very successful careers before that, to actually be genuine and really want to talk to the people that are out there trying to make sure they’re protected and get them where they need to go.”

As Rush mourns the loss of the 41st president, he said there’s a special memory he’ll never forget.

He was preparing the helicopter to return the Bush family to the White House from Camp David.

“So his little golf cart pulls up and it’s president Bush 41 and Barbara, just by themselves, they pull up and walk out to the helicopter, get on board and instead of just going back and sitting down in the back of the helicopter, they actually stuck their head into the cockpit to my co-pilot and had this really interesting conversation, for what seemed like a last time, but was probably just a few minutes,” Rush said. “They were such nice people, to take the time and talk to us and thank us for what we were doing.”

Rush said a flight like that is unforgettable.

“My co-pilot and I are, just big grins on our faces, flying back to the white house, you know, cause it was just a great experience,” Rush said.

While Rush doesn’t have any photos with George H.W. Bush, the many times he was along for the ride, left Rush with a fond memory of him.

“He was very down to earth and you could tell that the family greatly respected him, as the leader of their family. So just to have a brief interaction with him was very special,” Rush said.

Rush said him and his family are honored to have spent such memorable times with the entire Bush family.

Rush said he was one of five Marine One aircraft commanders to fly the Bush family around from 2004 to 2008.
He spent 21 years in the marines and is now an EMS Helicopter Pilot for the Air Evac Lifeteam.


Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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