CAVU

Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited (CAVU) is an aviation weather term defining ideal flying conditions. To a young Navy attack pilot flying off of the carrier San Jacinto in the Pacific War, like LT. George H.W. Bush, it meant one less thing to worry about since as he said, "We had little navigation instrumentation so we wanted CAVU." I know that in his case the term took on a far more profound meaning after he survived that war and I think he was not alone with that sentiment. In fact his old Executive Officer (XO) from squadron VT-51, Gar Hole, had a CAVU sign near his casket at his funeral. My guess is that most of his peers viewed CAVU as opportunity and promise unbounded. Following the war, the only thing keeping them from doing almost anything was their own talents and ambitions. Tom Brokaw’s book, The Greatest Generation is replete with examples of successful men who might not have been as successful had it not been for the crucible of World War II. The Irish say, "It's an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good."

In October 2001 President Bush asked me to carve him a plaque with CAVU on it. He was already familiar with my carving letters in wood. Over these last seven years I have carved him a number of these plaques all with a brass plate saying;
"CEILING AND VISIBILITY UNLIMITED"
On the backs of these mahogany plaques I stamped GB - 41


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