Bush, James Emerson, Jr., CPT

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
AAF 1054-Pilot - Two-Engine
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, China-Burma-India (CBI)
Service Years
1939 - 1944



Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

9 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Cranbrook, MI
Last Address
Cranbrook, MI

Casualty Date
May 27, 1944
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 34, Grave 2403,

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

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 Ribbon Bar

AAF Pilot Badge

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1939, US Military Academy (West Point, NY), B
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
China-Burma-India (CBI)
  1943-1944, China-Burma-India (CBI)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1942 WWII - American Theater/Antisubmarine Campaign
  1942-1944 WWII - China-Burma-India Theater/China Defensive Campaign (1942-45)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1939-1943, United States Military Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

James Emerson Bush, Jr.  ("Bushie" to his family) now rests in peace in Section 34, Grave 2403, of Arlington Cemetery. His West Point ring, with a touch of magic, brought him there from an obscure grave in Shinshow, China.

"Bushie" was the first of three sons of Colonel and Mrs. James Bush to graduate from West Point. From his earliest days he had two loves, West Point and sports. He was a natural leader. In sandlot sports he was the pitcher, the quarterback, the  leader-of- the-team sort of guy. In school he was the popular scholar. He won a scholarship to Cranbrook School (1937-1939), where he excelled in sports, academics, and  curricular activities. He won a competitive appointment to West Point from Michigan, entering a month after graduating from Cranbrook.

At West Point, "Bushie"survived the shock of plebe year and grueling yearling  academics, and, at his earliest opportunity, began to fall in love with one young lady after another. But his final love was the Air Corps.

Completing his aviation training in South Carolina, "Bushie"qualified in P-47s and volunteered for service in Europe. Instead, he was assigned as an instructor until he finally broke loose by volunteering for P-40s with the Flying Tigers in China. In the fall of 1943 and in the spring of 1944, he led his Chinese wingman in forays against the Japanese. On the fateful day of 27 May 1944, Captain Bush, age 22, was shot down by Japanese Zeros over Shinshow, China.

Three years later, a West Point graduate, Harold H. Ruth, Class of 1945, was walking down a street in Seoul, Korea. He noticed a young native wearing what looked like a West Point ring. He apprehended the Korean, turned him over to local authorities, and alleged what appeared to be theft of jewelry from a U.S. officer stationed in Seoul. When the authorities tried to track down the 'James E. Bush'whose name was inscribed in the ring, they were shocked to find that the owner had been killed three years earlier. Intensive interrogation of the prisoner revealed that the Korean had been a prisoner of the Japanese in China, had seen "Bushie's" plane shot down, and was on the burial detail which dug the shallow grave and robbed the body of the ring.

The most amazing part of the story is that the Korean was able to lead the  Quartermaster graves registration team from Korea back into China -back to the shallow grave -and back out with "Bushie's" remains shortly before Mao's communist forces overran the area for good. Recovery would have been impossible had it not happened in time! So a fine airman now lies among his comrades at home.

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