Richard G. Cushing, 1917-2004

Richard G. Cushing, war correspondent in the Pacific for the Associated Press in World War II and later head of the Voice of America, died at his home July 23 at the age of 87.

Mr. Cushing was a retired foreign service officer who had served in Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and Kenya in press and cultural relations assignments with the U.S. Information Agency.

In 1968 and 1969 he was Acting Director of the Voice Of America, the U.S. government's international broadcasting network.

He retired the end of 1976 and returned with his wife Nancy to their home in Mill Valley from where he continued his link with VOA as string correspondent for the Bay Area--"to keep my hand in journalism." For a time he did news reporting for UPI radio.

Born April 30, 1917 in New York City, Mr. Cushing was raised in California. He was a 1934 graduate of Galileo High in San Francisco and received his undergraduate degree from San Francisco State after attending UC Berkeley for three years.

Richard Cushing(left) Tokyo 1945

He worked 15 years in the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press and, a year before the end of World War II, he was sent to the Pacific as an AP correspondent in the Philippines and Okinawa.

Mr. Cushing and two other correspondents were the first Americans to enter Tokyo when the war ended. They rode a streetcar into the capital from Yokohama's Atsugi Airport, where the first U.S. planes landed. A few days later he helped cover the Japanese surrender to General Douglas MacArthur on the main deck of the battleship Missouri, and flew that afternoon to Shanghai, via a low-level flight over the destroyed city of Hiroshima. In Shanghai he reopened the Associated Press bureau.

Mr. Cushing was married for 58 years to the former Nancy Heizer of Lovelock, Nevada, who died in 1998. He is survived by three children, Jeffrey of Huntington Beach, Lincoln of Berkeley, and Martha, of Corrales, NM, four grandchildren, one great-grandchild, three nephews, and his companion and life-long friend Janet Partridge of Greenbrae. His only sibling, Maxine Cushing Gray of Seattle, owner-publisher of the fortnightly Northwest Arts, died in 1987.

Richard Cushing

Obituary printed in San Francisco Chronicle
Obituary of son Jeffrey Cushing

Letter home from China regarding the political situation, 1946
Letter from Hemingway regarding decision to not speak on the Voice of America, 1952
Opening the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, 1953
Role of Cushing in setting up Herb Matthews interview with Fidel Castro, 1957

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