United States Air Force Academy   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > First African-American Academy grad passes away
 
Photos 
Charles V. Bush
Charles V. Bush
Download HiRes
 
Related Stories
 Academy holds memorial service for first African-American graduate - 3/19/2013
First African-American Academy grad passes away

Posted 11/6/2012   Updated 11/6/2012 Email story   Print story

    


Release Number: 011112

11/6/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The first African-American to graduate from the Air Force Academy passed away today at his home in Lolo, Mont.

Charles Vernon Bush, Class of 1963, entered the Academy with his two African-American classmates, reporting as a cadet in June 1959.

He distinguished himself as a squadron commander, a member of the Academy's debate team, and a member of the Cadet Wing champion rugby team.

Having received academic course credits from Howard University, Bush was accepted into a special joint Academy/Georgetown University Masters program, commencing with graduate courses in his senior year, which included his oral comprehensives in the Russian language.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1963, Bush received his Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Georgetown University in June 1964, and was inducted in to the Georgetown chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.

He then attended Air Intelligence Officers School, and served at Westover AFB, Mass., where, among his other activities, he taught undergraduate political science courses at American International College. After becoming fluent in the Vietnamese language at Sanz Language School, in Washington, D.C, he was assigned to Vietnam in 1967as an intelligence officer.

In Vietnam, he was responsible for the deployment and operations of six intelligence teams operating from a number of sites, including Saigon, Bien Hoa, Nha Trang, Pleiku, Da Nang and Can Tho. The teams were involved with significant intelligence operations, particularly involving the attack on Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the Tet Offensive of 1968, and the defense of the Marines and South Vietnamese at the Battle of Khe Sanh.

Returning to the United States in May 1968, Bush was again assigned to Headquarters Air Force Special Projects Production Facility, at Westover AFB, as chief, Technical Analysis Division. He resumed teaching political science courses at American International College.

In 1970, Bush resigned his commission, then attended Harvard Business School, majoring in Finance. He spent the rest of his professional career in numerous business enterprises, serving as manager and senior corporate executive in such companies as Merrill Lynch-White Weld Capital Group, Max Factor, and Hughes Electronics.

Included among his many distinguished business and academic activities, Bush was an Academy Falcon Foundation Trustee, and a guest lecturer at the Academy's Department of Management. He was a diversity consultant for both the Air Force and Air Force Academy.

Bush received many accolades in both his military and civilian careers. While in the Air Force, he received the Bronze Star Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

"The United States Air Force Academy is saddened to learn of the passing of one our most notable graduates, Chuck Bush," said Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, Academy Superintendent. "Our hearts go out to Tina, Chip, Kyra, Bettina and all of the Bush family.

"A member of the Class of 1963 and the first African-American graduate, Mr. Bush's courage and commitment to enhancing diversity in the United States military will pay itself forward for many generations," Gould continued. "The Academy family is truly proud to call Mr. Chuck Bush one of our own."

-30-



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside USAFA

ima cornerSearch

tabAir Force Academy Social Media
  Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube
  More info on our Social Media page.
tabAcademy News
tabAcademy Links
tabOther Academy Sites

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act