First Black Academy Graduate Dies

Charles Vernon Bush, the Air Force Academy’s first African-American graduate, died on Nov. 5 at his home in Lolo, Mont., announced academy officials. He died at age 72 after battling colon cancer, reported Colorado’s Tri Lakes Tribune. “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, in the academy’s Nov. 6 release. “Mr. Bush’s courage and commitment to enhancing diversity in the United States military will pay itself forward for many generations,” added Gould. Bush, a Class of 1963 member, entered the academy with two black classmates, reporting as a cadet in June 1959, states the release. He distinguished himself as a squadron commander, a member of the academy’s debate team, and a player on the Cadet Wing’s champion rugby team. Bush served in the Air Force until 1970, including time as an intelligence officer in Vietnam in 1967. He spent the rest of his professional career in business.