George P. Bush Joins Navy Reserve

George Prescott Bush has joined the Navy Reserve at the age of 30.

George P. Bush, a nephew of President Bush who was a hit on the campaign trail, has been accepted in the Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer and has begun the process of being commissioned for eight years of service.

George P. Bush Joins Navy Reserve  Photo George P. Bush, President Bush's nephew, smiles from the podium during the first day of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 30, 2004, in New York. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta) Bush, 30, said in a telephone interview from his office at a real estate development firm in Fort Worth, Texas, that he was moved to join the service in part when he attended the rainy commissioning in October of the aircraft carrier named for his grandfather — the USS George H.W. Bush. “My grandfather’s my hero, and what really sold me on the ultimate decision was having the chance to see the CVN-77 be commissioned under his name,” he said. “That was pretty moving, and I had a chance to meet some Navy admirals, as well. I had a chance to talk to them briefly about the opportunity, and I was won over.”

George Prescott Bush, the oldest son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said the death of Pat Tillman, the NFL player and Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 in what was later determined to be a friendly-fire incident, “was a wake-up call for me.” He said he even “looked into active duty” and had somber conversations with his wife about the possibility.

Bush said he had not intended to announce his plans. “Honestly, I’m kind of a little disappointed that the word got out,” he said. “I was hoping to keep this as confidential as possible. I’m not doing it for political purposes or anything along those lines. I’m just doing it because I’ve been inspired by the friends of mine that have served, either through the JAG (military law) program or through the Reserves. I thought this was a small way that I could get involved.”

He sure took a lot of convincing, having been moved by the 2004 death of Pat Tillman, some JAG friends, his grandfather, and personal recruitment from several admirals.

While joining the Reserves is hardly the “get out of service free” card that it was in Vietnam–indeed, Reservists in some specialties are more likely to get deployed than many of their Active counterparts these days–the Navy Reserve isn’t at the top of the call-up list. My guess is that he’ll get to continue his business career largely unabated and use this “disappointing” news coverage to his advantage once he joins the real family business, politics.

Navy Lt. Kylan A. Jones-Huffman Photo UPDATE: Mark points out that at least one Navy Reserve intelligence officer has been killed in the line of duty in Iraq. Smash roomed with him at Annapolis.

I shouldn’t have been so glib. It’s true that there are riskier paths than the Navy Reserve but, certainly, civilian life is much safer. And not many 30-year-old rich guys from famous families are signing up.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Wake up on the cynical side of the bed this morning?

  2. SoloD says:

    Wow, that’s cynical. Undoubtedly 100% correct, but still cynical. (If that is possible.)

  3. Billy says:

    My guess is that he’ll get to continue his business career largely unabated and use this “disappointing” news coverage to his advantage once he joins the real family business, politics.

    And best of luck to him. He’ll need it with the “Bush” albatross around his neck until people forget what a disaster these last few years ago. He should be able to run in about 2040.

  4. James Joyner says:

    the “Bush” albatross around his neck

    Well, if his ambition is to seek office in Florida, his dad is still quite popular.

    Undoubtedly 100% correct, but still cynical.

    Heh. I’m just sayin’, if you’ve got a burning itch to serve in the military, the Navy Reserve is not the most effective way to scratch it in the midst of a ground war.

  5. Mark says:

    So the Navy reservists do not put their lives in danger? On CNN’s casualty page, 68 Navy personnel have given their lives. Granted, it is not nealry as many as those in the Army or Marines, but they are there.

    And here is a profile of Navy Reservist Kylan A. Jones-Huffman, who was an intelligence officer when killed – the same type of work Bush is going to be doing (according to the article).

  6. SMASH says:


    My younger brother is a Navy Intel officer. He’s deploying to Baghdad in a few months. Granted, he’s active duty.

    OK, Kylan, my roommate from Annapolis, was a reserve Navy Intel officer. He was killed in Hillah in August 2003.

    Don’t belittle anyone for volunteering. We all assume some level of risk.

    Welcome aboard, Ensign Bush.

  7. SMASH says:

    Addendum: Yes, the “Kylan Jones-Huffman” that Mark mentioned is the same “Kylan” who was my room mate at Annapolis.

  8. M1EK says:

    Come on. He’s clearly putting a lot more on the line than his uncle W did. Give him that much credit at least.

    He’s no Kerry; not even a Gore, but at least he’s not a W.

  9. Triumph says:

    The Pat Tillman explanation was weird: so he was motivated to join the reserves because a guy was killed by friendly fire and the Defense Dept. sought to both cover up the true cause and exploit the death of a “celebrity” soldier?

    Does he want to straighten out the DoD PR machine? Or “get back” at the US soldier who killed Tillman?

    Regardless–and cynicism aside–it is good to see at least ONE privileged Bush scion make some attempt at public service in what GW claims is a “threat to civilization.”

    While our civilization is on the verge of crumbling, Georgie P.’s brother Jebby is racking up public drunkness citations in Miami when not defending us against the evildoers through deal-making in commercial real estate.

    Sister Noelle is protecting the Homeland through stealing perscription drugs and smoking crack.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    M1ek, Dude why,Kerry was a self described War criminal turned Communist sympathizer turned pure unabashed Traitor, and Algore sat around in a tent looking down the wrong end of his weapon, and the Big W was a test Pilot in the reserve. So what your trying say is it’s better to be to be a traitor or a fool then a test pilot?

  11. Bandit says:

    While joining the Reserves is hardly the “get out of service free” card that it was in Vietnam—indeed

    Does someone else need to be reminded that the service is all volunteer now?

  12. Triumph says:

    Does someone else need to be reminded that the service is all volunteer now?

    James understands that.

    His point is that Georgie P. would more likely see combat in comparison to the era of his Uncle W. where there were lower percentages of reserves going over to the rice paddies to get shot at by Charlie. During Uncle W.’s time, serving in the reserve could be safer–especially if you had political connections.

  13. Regardless—and cynicism aside—it is good to see at least ONE privileged Bush scion make some attempt at public service in what GW claims is a “threat to civilization.”

    While he’s a bit up there to contribute now to the latest “threat to civilaztion,” George H. W. Bush, as a privileged Bush scion, was a pilot in WWII and was shot down in action over the Pacific while completing 58 missions and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and a Presidential Unit Citation.

    You might want to select a smaller brush for the tar rather than one large enough to take in the entire Bush clan. And doesn’t the presidency, not to mention a couple of gubenatorial positions, count as public service?

  14. candi says:

    Isn’t the Rhode Island Naval Reserve currently deployed in Fallujah? I heard they shipped out last month.

    And, a friend in San Diego called to say her beau was given 3 weeks notice that we was being deployed to Iraq. He’s in the Navy.

  15. SMASH says:


    Thank you for acknowledging Kylan’s sacrifice.

    You can cut down the Bushes all you want, but don’t mess with the Mighty Navy Reserve!

  16. Adam says:

    Another Bush?

  17. Steph says:

    In reality it would be extremely dangerous for any child or niece or nephew of the president to serve.

    With the New York Times leaking everything the minute they found out where he/she was they’d call their friends in Al Queda,

    I do have to say that young man is gorgeous. Looks like his mother :).

  18. Steph says:

    Also at least one of the president’s daughteras has worked in I think Central America.

    Unlike the Clinton’s pimping of everything Chelsea does for their gain the Bushes don’t use their daughters.

  19. Steph says:

    You better explain get out of serving in war zones free card to my 3 friends who are over there now as part of the reserves.

    They apparently didn’t know this.

  20. Thanks for revisiting your earlier post and updating.

    Reservists in all branches of the services are liable to be called up in the current force/threat environment, those in intelligence specialties as often (if not more so) as any other.

    By a quirk of fate, I met Smash’s former roommate earlier on the very day he was killed. Just an introduction, a “hello” and a handshake.

    If “young” (age 30) Mr. Bush decides to enter politics at a later date, his service experience will hopefully better prepare him for public service.

  21. BTW, I’ve linked to you here.

  22. redtail says:

    Nine Naval Intelligence personnel were killed in the CNO Intelligence Plot in the Pentagon on 9/11. An appropriate reminder of why we’re playing the away game in Iraq. None of us are completely safe, George P is at least doing something to try and change that.