George Bush Explains CAVU

George Bush and the Naming of CAVU International

CAVU International Chief Executive Officer, David Burnham, grew up in Kennebunkport, Maine, just down the street from the summer home of President George H.W. Bush. In 1987, Burnham had the honor of receiving his Naval Academy diploma from then Vice President George H.W. Bush, but he otherwise had no direct interaction with the Bush family, despite the fact that they were routinely just down the street from Burnham’s childhood home. Little did he know, that would all change after his father had a casual conversation with Mr. Dwight Noble, a pioneer in Kennebunkport waste management.

In the spring of 2007, Burnham’s father told Mr. Noble that Burnham had recently completed a phase in the Navy’s Nuclear Aircraft Carrier command training in Newport, Rhode Island, and the family was planning a post-graduation family gathering for Commander Burnham. Later that morning, Mr. Noble’s route took him to the Bush residence, where he visited with the former President about the commissioning of the President’s namesake nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush. Mr. Noble mentioned his earlier conversation with Commander Burnham’s father and recommended a visit between President Bush and Commander Burnham.

President Bush quickly recognized the unique circumstances of the situation and directed his Chief of Staff to arrange a meeting with Commander Burnham. Later that week, Commander Burnham had the privilege of meeting with the former President at his summer home in Kennebunkport, where the two talked for over an hour. They spoke about a range of topics, including flying World War II vintage airplanes from straight deck carriers, flying the F-14 Tomcat from ships compatible with the USS George H.W. Bush, the awesome capabilities of nuclear powered carriers, their experiences in the 1991 combat operations in Iraq, and living in the beautiful State of Maine.

As Burnham started to leave, President Bush asked him if he knew the meaning of the term CAVU, pointing to a simple plaque prominently hanging on his office wall. When Burnham responded “Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited, Mr. President,” President Bush smiled and said, “Yes, David, and that’s my life from here on out.”

In the years that followed, Burnham fondly recalled his meeting with President Bush and often shared the story of their meeting with his friends and colleagues. In 2015, when it was time to pick a name for their new company, the founding members rallied around President Bush’s theme of limitless potential – CAVU.

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