Noah's ARKives

(Archive - Week of November 19, 2005)

Robert Eugene Bush died on Nov. 8

As reported in the Sunday, Nov. 13, New York Times, this brave warrior, Robert Eugene Bush died on Nov. 8, in Tumwater, Wash. at age 79. This Navy hero was attached to the US Marines as a medical Corpsman. I was a Marine with the First Marine Division on Okinawa at the time.

World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient  Hospital Corpsman Robert Eugene Bush, US Navy

Robert Eugene Bush, US Navy receiving congratulations from President Harry S. Truman after being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor October 5, 1945

Robert Bush was born in Tacoma, Washington and entered the military in 1943 at age 17. He dropped out of high school and went to Idaho for basic training in the Naval Medical Corps. Less than a year later he was disembarking an amphibious assault vehicle going ashore at Okinawa Japan for what became the longest bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater of WWII. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.

Injured in battle, Bush was shipped to Hawaii for treatment and then sent home. He re-entered high school and married his high school sweetheart. At 19-years-old the newlyweds took the train across country to Washington D.C. for Bush to receive the Medal from President Harry S. Truman.

Bush enrolled in classes at the University of Washington and then bought a small lumber company and spent the next 50 years building it in into a multi-million dollar business.

Several monuments have been built in Bushs honor: a statue depicting him in action located in his hometown of South Bend, Washington; the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital, located in Twentynine Palms, California and the Bush Health Care Clinic, located in Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan.

Bush completed high school in 1946 by using the G.I. Bill and became a successful businessman.  He served as President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.


Rank and organization: Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Naval Reserve, serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division.

Place and date: Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945.

Entered service at: Washington.

Born: 4 October 1926, Tacoma, Wash.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945. Fearlessly braving the fury of artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire from strongly entrenched hostile positions, Bush constantly and unhesitatingly moved from 1 casualty to another to attend the wounded falling under the enemy's murderous barrages. As the attack passed over a ridge top, Bush was advancing to administer blood plasma to a marine officer lying wounded on the skyline when the Japanese launched a savage counterattack. In this perilously exposed position, he resolutely maintained the flow of life-giving plasma. With the bottle held high in 1 hand, Bush drew his pistol with the other and fired into the enemy's ranks until his ammunition was expended. Quickly seizing a discarded carbine, he trained his fire on the Japanese charging pointblank over the hill, accounting for 6 of the enemy despite his own serious wounds and the loss of 1 eye suffered during his desperate battle in defense of the helpless man. With the hostile force finally routed, he calmly disregarded his own critical condition to complete his mission, valiantly refusing medical treatment for himself until his officer patient had been evacuated, and collapsing only after attempting to walk to the battle aid station. His daring initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in service of others reflect great credit upon Bush and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Robert E. Bush Monument in South Bend, WA dedicated on November 11, 1998
(Photo by Mick Bush)


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