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Former President Bush to Skydive

March 19, 2004

DALLAS (AP) _ Former President George Bush hasn’t had enough air time yet. For his 80th birthday, he’s planning his third skydiving feat since 1997 _ and fourth jump ever.

The ex-president also plans a party in College Station on June 12 (his birthday) and June 13 so friends and admirers can watch the next leap. Tickets will be sold, with prices beginning at $100 and the proceeds going to charity.

A Navy pilot during World War II, Bush made a jump at age 72, fulfilling a promise he made after bailing from a crippled plane during the military conflict. He’d vowed to skydive again just for fun.

In 1999, Bush marked his 75th birthday by jumping from an airplane.

``Clearly, after his first jump, I think he was hooked,″ Chris Needels, executive director of the U.S. Parachute Association and staff member on Bush’s National Security Council, told The Dallas Morning News for Friday’s editions.

Bush was decorated for heroism after his plane was shot down over the Pacific Ocean during World War II. That was also his first jump _ into the Pacific Ocean on Sept. 2, 1944, when he bailed out of his torpedo bomber after it was disabled by Japanese fire.

Needels said an 86-year-old member in his group has made 100 jumps a year.

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