President George H.W. Bush skydived for the sixth time to commemorate the 10th anniversary and renovation of his presidential library.
During the ceremony, emcee and CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz introduced the U.S. Army Golden Knights, who were scheduled to perform, and announced the surprise promised in the program: "The last jumper from the plane is George H.W. Bush."
"This is his sixth parachute jump -- his fifth voluntarily," Nantz said, referring to Bush's first jump, which happened when his Navy fighter plane was shot down during World War II.
Nantz said three or four people outside of the Golden Knights were aware of his plan to jump.
"He just wanted to surprise everyone," he said.
The jump was delayed for several minutes because of cloud cover blocking the landing spot adjacent to the crowd. After several flyovers, the Golden Knights started their jump. Bush went last, jumping in tandem with a member of the team.
Bush, 83, had been recovering from a hip replacement in January. At a media event at the Bush Library Friday, reporters asked if he planned to jump on his 85th birthday like he did on his 80th birthday in 2004, with Fox News anchor Brit Hume and actor Chuck Norris. He said he was planning on it, but made no mention of the jump planned for Saturday.
After landing and changing clothes, Bush took to the podium at the ceremony and said that age is no reason to slow down.
"You got to do things that are fun," Bush said. "I don't have to sit around drooling just because I'm 83."
© 2007 The Battalion via U-WIRE