"I know you join me in saying to our father: President Bush, your ship has come in," Bush said to applause as heavy rain fell.
His father, a decorated World War II Navy pilot, once flew low over a beach to see women sunbathing, the president said.
The flyover upset a circus elephant, "causing him to break lose and make a run throughout the town," Bush said. His father "was grounded for causing an elephant stampede -- probably the only Navy pilot in American history who can make that claim."
Dorothy Bush Koch, the president's sister, smashed a bottle of sparkling wine against the carrier bow.