(born June 12, 1924, Milton, Mass., U.S.) 41st president of the U.S. (1989–93). Bush was the son of Prescott Bush, an investment banker and U.S. senator from Connecticut. He served in World War II as a torpedo bomber pilot on aircraft carriers in the Pacific, flying some 58 combat missions; he was shot down by the Japanese in 1944. After graduating from Yale University in 1948, he started an oil business in Texas. He was elected to a Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives (1966–70) and later served as ambassador to the UN (1971–72), chief of liaison to China (1974–76), and head of the CIA (1976–77). In 1980 he lost the Republican Party nomination for president to Ronald Reagan. Bush served as vice president under Reagan (1981–89), whom he succeeded as president, defeating Michael Dukakis. He made no dramatic departures from Reagan’s policies. In 1989 he ordered a brief military invasion of Panama, which toppled that country’s leader, Gen. Manuel Noriega. He helped impose a UN-approved embargo against Iraq in 1990 to force its withdrawal from Kuwait. When Iraq refused, he authorized a U.S.-led air offensive that began the Persian Gulf War. Despite general approval of his foreign policy, an economic recession led to his defeat by Bill Clinton in 1992.
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