posted on Jan, 24 2004 @ 05:58 PM
I thought this might interest us liberals or anyone else who is interested in the President's military career.
FINALLY, THE TRUTH ABOUT BUSH'S MILITARY SERVICE RECORD
George W.'s Missing Year
Marty Heldt is a farmer. He told us, "I spent 17 years as a brakeman
[for the railroad] before moving back to the farm. That job had some
long layovers that gave me a lot of time to read and to educate myself."
He lives in Clinton, Iowa.
Nearly two hundred manila-wrapped pages of George Walker Bush's service
records came to me like some sort of giant banana stuffed into my
I had been seeking more information about his military record to find
out what he did during what I think of as his "missing year," when he
failed to show up for duty as a member of the Air National Guard, as the
Boston Globe first reported.
The initial page I examined is a chronological
listing of Bush's service
record. This document charts active duty days served from the time of
his enlistment. His first year, a period of extensive training, young
Bush is credited with serving 226 days. In his second year in the Guard,
Bush is shown to have logged a total of 313 days. After Bush got his
wings in June 1970 until May 1971, he is credited with a total of 46
days of active duty. From May 1971 to May 1972, he logged 22 days of
Then something happened. From May 1, 1972 until April 30, 1973 -- a
period of twelve months -- there are no days shown, though Bush should
have logged at least thirty-six days service (a weekend per month in
addition to two weeks at camp).
I found out that for the first four months of this time period, when
Bush was working on the U.S. Senate campaign of Winton Blount in
Alabama, that he did not have orders to be at any unit anywhere.
On May 24, 1972, Bush had applied for a transfer from the Texas Air
National Guard to Montgomery, Alabama. On his transfer
request Bush noted that he was
seeking a "no pay" position with the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron. The
commanding officer of the Montgomery unit, Lieutenant Colonel Reese R.
Bricken, promptly accepted Bush's
request to do temporary duty
under his command.
But Bush never received orders for the 9921st in Alabama. Such decisions
were under the jurisdiction of the Air Reserve Personnel Center in
Denver, Colorado, and the Center disallowed the transfer. The Director
of Personnel Resources at the Denver headquarters noted in his
rejection that Bush had a
"Military Service Obligation until 26 May 1974." As an "obligated
reservist," Bush was ineligible to serve his time in what amounted to a
paper unit with few responsibilities. As the unit's leader, Lieutenant
Colonel Bricken recently explained to the Boston Globe, ''We met just
one weeknight a month. We were only a postal unit. We had no airplanes.
We had no pilots. We had no nothing.''
The headquarters document rejecting Bush's requested Alabama transfer
was dated May 31, 1972. This transfer refusal left Bush still obligated
to attend drills with his regular unit, the 111th Fighter Interceptor
Squadron stationed at Ellington Air Force Base near Houston. However,
Bush had already left Texas two weeks earlier and was now working on
Winton Blount's campaign staff in Alabama.
In his annual evaluation
report, Bush's two supervising officers, Lieutenant Colonel William D.
Harris Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, made it clear that
Bush had "not been observed at"
his Texas unit "during the period of report" -- the twelve month period
from May 1972 through the end of April 1973.
In the comments section of this
evaluation report Lieutenant Colonel Harris notes that Bush had "cleared
this base on 15 May 1972, and has been performing equivalent training in
a non flying role with the 187th Tac Recon Gp at Dannelly ANG Base,
Alabama" (the Air National Guard Tactical Reconnaissance Group at
Dannelly Air Force Base near Montgomery, Alabama).
This was incorrect. Bush didn't apply for duty at Dannelly Air Force
Base until September 1972. From May until September he was in limbo, his
temporary orders having been rejected. And when his orders to appear at
Dannelly came through he still didn't appear. Although his instructions
clearly directed Bush to report to Lieutenant Colonel William Turnipseed
on the dates of "7-8 October 0730-1600, and 4-5 November 0730-1600," he
never did. In interviews conducted with the Boston Globe earlier this
year, both General Turnipseed and his former administration officer,
Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Lott, said that Bush never put in an
The lack of regular attendance goes against the basic concept of a
National Guard kept strong by citizen soldiers who maintain their skills
through regular training.
Bush campaign aides claim, according to a report in the New York Times,
that Bush in fact served a single day -- November 29,1972 -- with the
Alabama unit. If this is so it means that for a period of six weeks
Lieutenant George W. Bush ignored direct instructions from headquarters
to report for duty. But it looks even worse for Lieutenant Bush if the
memory of Turnipseed and Lott are correct and Bush never reported at
After the election was over (candidate Blount lost), Bush was to have
returned to Texas and the 111th at Ellington Air Force Base. Bush did
return to Houston, where he worked for an inner-city youth organization,
Project P.U.L.L. But, as I mentioned already, his annual evaluation
report states that he had not been observed at his unit during the
twelve months ending May 1973. This means that there were another five
months, after he left Alabama, during which Bush did not fulfill any of
his obligations as a Guardsman.
In fact, during the final four months of this period, December 1972
through May 29, 1973, neither Bush nor his aides have ever tried to
claim attendance at any guard activities. So, incredibly, for a period
of one year beginning May 1, 1972, there is just one day, November 29th,
on which Bush claims to have performed duty for the Air National Guard.
There are no dates of service for 1973 mentioned in Bush's
Bush's long absence from the records comes to an end one week after he
failed to comply with an order to attend
"Annual Active Duty Training"
starting at the end of May 1973. He then began serving irregularly with
his unit. Nothing indicates in the records that he ever made up the time
Early in September 1973, Bush submitted a request seeking to be
discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and to be transferred to
the Air Reserve Personnel Center. This transfer to the inactive reserves
would effectively end any requirements to attend monthly drills. The
request -- despite Bush's record -- was approved. That fall Bush
enrolled in Harvard Business School.
Both Bush and his aides have made numerous statements to the effect that
Bush fulfilled all of his guard obligations. They point to Bush's
honorable discharge as proof of this. But the records indicate that
George W Bush missed a year of service. This lack of regular attendance
goes against the basic concept of a National Guard kept strong by
citizen soldiers who maintain their skills and preparedness through
And we know that Bush understood that regular attendance was essential
to the proficiency of the National Guard. In the Winter 1998
issue of the National
Guard Review Bush is quoted as saying "I can remember walking up to my
F-102 fighter and seeing the mechanics there. I was on the same team as
them, and I relied on them to make sure that I wasn't jumping out of an
airplane. There was a sense of shared responsibility in that case. The
responsibility to get the airplane down. The responsibility to show up
and do your job."
Bush has found military readiness to be a handy campaign issue.
Bush's unsatisfactory attendance could have resulted in being ordered to
active duty for a period up to two years -- including a tour in Vietnam.
Lieutenant Bush would have been aware of this as he had signed a
statement which listed the
penalties for poor attendance and unsatisfactory participation. Bush
could also have faced a general court martial. But this was unlikely as
it would have also meant dragging in the two officers who had signed off
on his annual evaluation.
Going after officers in this way would have been outside the norm. Most
often an officer would be subject to career damaging letters of
reprimand and poor Officers Effectiveness Ratings. These types of
punishment would often result in the resignation of the officer. In
Bush's case, as someone who still had a commitment for time not served,
he could have been brought back and made to do drills. But this would
have been a further embarrassment to the service as it would have made
it semi-public that a Lieutenant Colonel and squadron commander had let
one of his subordinates go missing for a year.
For the Guard, for the ranking officers involved and for Lieutenant Bush
the easiest and quietest thing to do was adding time onto his commitment
and placing that time in the inactive reserves.
Among these old documents there is a single clue as to how Bush finally
fulfilled his obligations and made up for those missed drill days. In my
first request for information I received a small three-page document
containing the "Military Biography Of
George Walker Bush." This was
sent from the Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) in Denver
In this official summary of Bush's military service, I found something
that was not mentioned in Bush's records from the National Guard Bureau
in Arlington, Virginia. When Bush enlisted his commitment ran until May
26, 1974. This was the separation date shown on all documents as late as
October 1973, when Bush was
transferred to the inactive reserves at Denver, Colorado. But the date
of final separation shown on the official summary from Denver, is
November 21, 1974. The ARPC had tacked an extra six months on to Bush's
Bush may have finally "made-up" his missed days. But he did so not by
attending drills -- in fact he never attended drills again after he
enrolled at Harvard. Instead, he had his name added to the roster of a
paper unit in Denver, Colorado, a paper unit where he had no
responsibility to show up and do a job.
Bush has found military readiness to be a handy campaign issue. Yet even
though more than two decades have passed since Bush left the Air
National Guard, some military sources still bristle at his service
record -- and what effect it had on readiness. "In short, for the
several hundred thousand dollars we tax payers spent on getting [Bush]
trained as a fighter jock, he repaid us with sixty-eight days of active
duty. And God only knows if and when he ever flew on those days,"
concludes a military source. "I've spent more time cleaning up latrines
than he did flying."
I couldn't find a direct link to the article, but I found the main page were it came from: www.tompaine.com
[Edited on 24-1-2004 by TheCatalyst]