Aviation Terrorism, President George H.W. Bush, PAN AM 103: Remember?

Aviation Security and the fight against terrorism against airlines are among a lesser known achievement by late U.S. President H.W.Bush.

His interest and achievements fighting aviation terrorism was an important episode during his time as Vice President and as President of the United States of America.

On April 3, 1989 he met in the White House for over an hour with a delegation of PAN AM Flight 103 family members.

PAN AM Flight 103 was a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. On 21 December 1988, N739PA, the aircraft operating the transatlantic leg of the route, was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew – a disaster known as the Lockerbie bombing.

U.S. President George Bush was the man who sought a “kinder, and gentler nation,” and the one who sternly invited Americans to read his lips — he would not raise taxes. He was the popular leader of a mighty coalition in the Iraq- Kuwait conflict.

As the U.S.Presiden, George  Bush, he overruled his cabinet to agree to a commission to investigate the bombing. He kept in touch with family members with personal notes (a secret to his political career).

Bush appointed Ann McLaughlin to chair the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism.

The findings congress identified:

(1) the safety and security of passengers of United States air carriers against terrorist threats should be given the highest priority by the United States Government;

(2) the report of the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, dated May 15, 1990, found that current aviation security systems are inadequate to provide such protection;

(3) the United States Government should immediately take steps to ensure fuller compliance with existing laws and regulations relating to aviation security;

(4) the United States Government should work through the International Civil Aviation Organization and directly with foreign governments to enhance aviation security of foreign carriers and at foreign airports;

(5) the United States Government should ensure that enhanced security measures are fully implemented by both United States and foreign air carriers;

(6) all nations belonging to the Summit Seven should promptly amend the Bonn Declaration to extend sanctions for all terrorist acts, including attacks against airports and air carrier ticket offices;

(7) the United States Government, in bilateral negotiations with foreign governments, should emphasize upgrading international aviation security objectives;

(8) the United States Government should have in place a mechanism by which the Government notifies the public, on a case-by-case basis and through the application of a uniform national standard, of certain credible threats to civil aviation security;

(9) the United States Government has a special obligation to United States victims of acts of terrorism directed against this Nation and should provide prompt assistance to the families of such victims and assure that fair and prompt compensation is provided to such victims and their families;

(10) the United States should work with other nations to treat as outlaws state sponsors of terrorism, isolating such sponsors politically, economically, and militarily;

(11) the United States must develop a clear understanding that state-sponsored terrorism threatens United States values and interests and that active measures are needed to counter more effectively the terrorist threat; and 3

(12) the United States must have the national will to take every feasible action to prevent, counter, and respond to terrorist activities.

President Bush called out Libya at the UN, he indicted suspects and imposed the strictest ever sanctions allowed by the UN charter banning all commercial aviation to and from Libya to any UN member nation.

The same sanction was being imposed on any violator, and in addition to oil technology sanctions, effectively isolating and punishing Libya for its state-sponsored terrorism against the US and UK in 1992.

President George H.W. Bush famously vacationed at his family’s compound on the Maine coast at Kennebunkport, where he played as a boy and raced speedboats as a vacationing president. But as the Los Angeles Times reported in 1988, Kennebunkport and the family compound located at Walker’s Point is “much more than a vacation spot” to the Bush family.

For a man who sought his fortune in the oil business and fame in politics, for a man who has lived in Beijing and Bakersfield, in Midland and Washington, for a man who has moved 28 times in his adult life, the constant for George Bush has been Kennebunkport. Every year of his life except when he was away in the Pacific during the World War II year of 1944, Bush has come home at least once.

The compound consists of a main lodge, a guest cabin, a small two-story cabin, a security center, and an assortment of other buildings and cabins. Bush’s great-grandfather purchased the estate in the late 1800s. George H.W. Bush eventually purchased it, and the estate has since remained in the family. Bush’s son, George W. Bush, routinely visits Kennebunkport. The family has also hosted many weddings, holidays, and receptions at the property.

George H.W. Bush was one of the youngest naval aviators of World War II, who has the most impressive record of America’s pilot-presidents.

Not quite 19 upon receiving his wings, he flew TBM Avenger torpedo bombers from the carrier USS San Jacinto in 1944. It was said that Bush was “one of Grumman’s best customers,” having ditched one Avenger with engine trouble and parachuted from another. On a mission over the Bonin Islands, Japanese flak set Bush’s Avenger afire. He remained airborne long enough to reach open water. Though his two crewmen perished after bailing out with Bush, the future president was rescued by a submarine. After the war, told that the Japanese army routinely cannibalized captured fliers, Bush quipped that he was so thin he would have made a poor meal.

For his 58 combat missions, Lieutenant Junior Grade Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals

President Bush’s longtime friend and former secretary of state, James A. Baker III, arrived at his Houston home, yesterday on Friday morning, November 30, 2018, to check on him.

On his final day before passing this same day Mr. Bush received a visit by his longtime friend and former U.S. Secretary of State James. A Baker III.  President Bush suddenly grew alert, his eyes wide open. “Where are we going, Bake?” he asked. “We’re going to heaven,” Mr. Baker answered. “That’s where I want to go,” Mr. Bush said. This was reported by the New York Times.

Former President George H.W. Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda next week, congressional leaders announced Saturday — a move that has become customary to honor the passing of former presidents.

Bush, who spent a lifetime in public service and served as the 41st president between 1989 and 1993, died shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara Bush.

He is survived by five children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. A sixth child died in early childhood. The late former president also is survived by 17 grandchildren.

Current U.S. President Trump ordered flags at half-mast on Wednesday.