A 96-year-old World War II veteran from Alabama has passed away. Chief Master Sgt. E.W. Bush (ret.) took his last breath in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 5.

Bush, who was originally from Sylacauga, first joined the Army Air Corps and later was put into the United States Air Force after it was established. He volunteered for service just shy of his 18th birthday.

"I didn't classify it as being brave," Bush told 1819 News in December of 2021. "It was something that I had to do."

The position that Bush held was the most active position in WWII. As a gunner, he operated a machine gun that was mounted on the aircraft.

WWII was Bush’s first war but not his last. He served during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Fortunately, he said he was never deployed to Vietnam because he turned in his retirement papers just one day before his orders were to be delivered.

Bush was living in Trussville at the time of his death. He was a member of the American Legion Michael W. Hosey Post 205 in Clay-Trussville.

Bush had a neighborhood full of friends that he said treated him like family. They pitched in to help him because they called him an American hero. But Bush said he didn’t see it that way. He said he wasn’t interested in leaving a legacy of anything other than being an American citizen.

"I just want them to hear the facts," said Bush in tears, during the December 6, 2021 interview. "I am a human being. It takes all of us to make a world.”

Watch the memorial video below.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819News.com.