Little Known Black History Fact: Charles Vernon Bush

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  • In June 1959, Charles Vernon Bush became one of the first three black cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. As squadron commander, Bush was the first black to graduate in the Academy’s history. Prior to his attendance to the academy, Bush was selected by Chief Justice Earl Warren as the first black Page to the U.S. Supreme Court. He even transferred to a special high school, Capitol Page School, made specifically for U.S. Pages.

    Bush started his secondary education at Howard University, where his father Charles Bush, Sr., was an administrator, then transferred to the Air Force Academy in a dual program with Georgetown University. He was required to learn oral comprehension of the Russian language.

    Bush attended Air Intelligence Officers School and was stationed at Westover Air Force Base. A top-notch officer, Bush learned to speak fluent Vietnamese and was transferred to Vietnam in 1967 as an intelligence officer. He was in charge of six teams. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

    In 1968, Bush returned to the U.S. and taught political science at American International College. Two years later, he focused his attention on Harvard Business School to get a finance degree.

    He lived out his career as an executive for Merrill Lynch-White Weld Capital Group, Max Factor, and Hughes Electronics.

    Charles Vernon Bush passed away on November 5, 2012 at his home in Montana.
     

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