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Bush's Guard service: What the record shows
The Boston Globe ^ | 2/5/04 | Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff

Posted on 02/05/2004 7:55:48 AM PST by SpinyNorman

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:11:31 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker, started it, labeling President Bush a military "deserter" during an appearance last month with Democratic presidential candidate Wesley K. Clark.

Less incendiary was Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, who charged Sunday that Bush had been AWOL, absent without leave, while a fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: awol; bush; bush43; bushrecord; deserter; falseattacks; gwb2004; hypocrisy; liberallies; militaryservice; nationalguard
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The level of subjectivity in this article is excessive, and, not surprisingly, typical for the Globe (the ugly stepchild of the NYTimes).

The boldfaced sections were particularly egregious. Can you say smear campaign?

1 posted on 02/05/2004 7:55:49 AM PST by SpinyNorman
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To: SpinyNorman
When an article starts off stating "Michael Moore, documentary film maker" you know there is a problem with the objectivty of the article.
2 posted on 02/05/2004 8:04:50 AM PST by stylin_geek (Koffi: 0, G.W. Bush: (I lost count))
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To: SpinyNorman
I'm amazed, even though I know the Globe is leftist garbage.

This is Grade A barf alert.

3 posted on 02/05/2004 8:05:03 AM PST by JohnnyZ
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To: SpinyNorman
Yes, President Bush will never be able to hold a candle to John F! Kerry's proud military service. [giggle]

4 posted on 02/05/2004 8:08:53 AM PST by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: SpinyNorman
His Alabama unit commander, in an interview, said Bush never appeared for duty.

Actually that is a lie. Turnipseed did not remember Bush showing up and even admitted that he (Turnispeed) was not around all that much during that time period.

5 posted on 02/05/2004 8:09:57 AM PST by Always Right
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To: SpinyNorman
As a Reservist, an "bad-year" is meaningless unless you intend to retire from the military. More than likely, the President tried to transfer to Alabama, missed some drills and was advised to meet his obligation as an Officer and Pilot, he had to have a certain number of points, he made up those point and left the Guard. Hell, I am eligible to retire and I have two "bad-years" I am trying to fix. I know people that have paid hell trying to fix "bad years" from back in the 80's. It is a clerical mess. Besides, now Bush's nominal CO from Alabama is back tracking, by saying Bush may have been there he is not sure. Why, because the CO or his direct representative signs the muster sheet. Only a completely nincompoop would not know one of his officers was absent. "Absent", AWOL and Deserter to not apply to "drilling" reservists. Those are active duty designations and do not apply to drilling Guard members.
6 posted on 02/05/2004 8:10:17 AM PST by jstolarczyk (jstolarczyk)
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To: SpinyNorman
Michael Moore needs to have an accident like the two military experts who were examining what really happened at Waco. The evidence allegedly showed shots being fired at people escaping the fire -- the fire was allegedly set after an invasion of the building by special forces troops. Two experts who were pursuing hard proof suffered heart attacks. Soldiers who were attached to the special forces teams during the raid allgedly died during training accidents later.

Moore is a big fat slob. 'Nuff said. Over and out.

7 posted on 02/05/2004 8:12:22 AM PST by ex-Texan
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To: SpinyNorman
A couple of points...The Dems always, ALWAYS..go way too aswe you haven't noticed...they've all basically come out and said that the Guard, and all who served..are shirkers...we haven't heard the end of this yet, believe's gonna bite 'em on the ass, big time...also, wait till we start to get the statistics..from GOP spokesmen, about the mortality rate of fighter pilot's a staggering %...I remember seeing the numebrs once. if you applied to fly jets, you were 5 times more likely of dying, I believe..than if you were sent to Vietnam..also.Cleland is way over the4 top..he's gone nutso..because of his defeat, and he's gonna step in it..
8 posted on 02/05/2004 8:14:02 AM PST by ken5050
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To: Coop

Using her wealth and influence, she managed to garner support from American college campuses, advocating communism and encouraging rebellion and anarchy against the U.S. government. In a speech to Duke University students in 1970, Fonda told the gathering, "If you understood what Communism was, you would hope and pray on your knees that we would someday become Communist."

Fonda was the major financial support to one of the most damaging pro-Hanoi groups called Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), which was led for a time by Robert Muller, a Vietnam veteran who had been shot in the spine. VVAW, at its peak membership, mustered about 7,000, some of whom had been indoctrinated in the "Coffee Houses." That organization was later led by Vietnam vet John Kerry, now a U.S. senator and former co-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.

Jane Fonda poses for the press after a trip to Hanoi. She is sporting a necklace given to her by the North Vietnamese. The necklace was made from the melted parts of a U.S. B-52 shot down by Hanoi. While in North Vietnam, Fonda made radio broadcasts and propaganda films designed to break the moral of U.S. troops fighting in Vietnam.

9 posted on 02/05/2004 8:15:39 AM PST by kcvl
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To: SpinyNorman
WHERE was BILL CLINTON during the Viet Nam War???

What was HE doing in the Societ Union when he visited them at that time? You know, when they were providing assistance to the Viet Cong??

WHAT did Bill Clinton's MOTHER do in the Soviet Union when SHE visited it about the same time?

WHY are DEMOCRATIC war records not subjected to such media scrutiny??

And FINALLY, WHAT about those civlians "soldier" Kerry allegedy killed ???
10 posted on 02/05/2004 8:15:52 AM PST by ZULU (GOD BLESS SENATOR JOE MCCARTHY!!!)
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To: SpinyNorman
They are still insisting on trying to smear Bush with half truths and outright lies, I see.
11 posted on 02/05/2004 8:15:54 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Always Right
"Not observed at this unit" merely means that the officers felt that they were not qualified to give accurate and true evaluations. When I was in the Navy, anytime you changed commands, you would get an eval. Sometimes you would be with a command for a period of only a few weeks. The evals you would get would say "not observed at this command". Exactly as they should.
12 posted on 02/05/2004 8:19:56 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: SpinyNorman

Dallas Morning News | July 4, 1999 | Pete Slover, George Kuempel
Posted on 02/03/2004 2:24:49 PM PST by MikeA

With the Vietnam War raging, 21-year-old George W. Bush wanted to join the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. He offered no aviation experience but cited his work as a ranch hand, oil field "roustabout" and sporting goods salesman.

He passed the written test required for pilot trainees. Among the results: He showed below-average potential as a would-be flier but scored high as a future leader.

Although Mr. Bush's unit in Texas had a waiting list for many spots, he was accepted because he was one of a handful of applicants willing and qualified to spend more than a year in active training, and extra shifts after training, flying single-seat F-102 fighter jets.

Once he was in, Guard officials sought to capitalize on his standing as the son of a congressman.

A 1970 Guard news release featured Mr. Bush as "one member of our younger generation who doesn't get his kicks from pot or hashish or speed.

"On, he gets high, all right, but not from narcotics," it said.

"Fighters are it," Mr. Bush is quoted as saying. "I've always wanted to be a fighter pilot, and I wouldn't want to fly anything else."

Such are the details that emerge from a review of Mr. Bush's service record by The Dallas Morning News, along with interviews with Guard leaders, former colleagues and state officials familiar with that unit.

Mr. Bush, 52, now the Republican front-runner for president, has repeatedly denied suggestions by political rivals that he received preferential treatment to get into the Guard - widely seen as a haven from which enlistees were unlikely to be shipped to Vietnam.

As evidence he wasn't dodging combat, Mr. Bush has pointed to his efforts to try to volunteer for a program that rotated Guard pilots to Vietnam, although he wasn't called.

"There was no special treatment," he said.

Mr. Bush said he took flying seriously. "You will die in your airplane if you didn't practice, and I wasn't interested in dying," he said.

Records provided to The News by Tom Hail, a historian for the Texas Air National Guard, show that the unit Mr. Bush signed up for was not filled. In mid-1968, the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, based in Houston, had 156 openings among its authorized staff of 925 military personnel.

Of those, 26 openings were for officer slots, such as that filled by Mr. Bush, and 130 were for enlisted men and women. Also, several former Air Force pilots who served in the unit said that they were recruited from elsewhere to fly for the Texas Guard.

Officers who supervised Mr. Bush and approved his admission to the Guard said they were never contacted by anyone on Mr. Bush's behalf.

"He didn't have any strings pulled, because there weren't any strings to pull," said Leroy Thompson of Brownwood, who commanded the squadron that kept the waiting list for the guard at Ellington Air Force Base. "Our practices were under incredible scrutiny then. It was a very ticklish time."

Fellow members of the Bush unit said they knew of his background.

U.S. Rep. George Bush was at his son's side when he was made an officer in the Guard. The elder Mr. Bush, a former World War II pilot, later spoke at his son's graduation from flight school.

David Hanifl of La Crescent, Minn., an Air Force regular who went through pilot training in Georgia with George W. Bush, said the flight instructors were eager to fly with the Texan.

"He didn't get any preferential treatment, but some of the instructors liked the idea of scheduling him to fly with them because of his connections," he said.

Mr. Hanifl said it was somewhat unusual for a Guardsman to be included in the flight class with Air Force regulars.

"You had to have clout to get that type of assignment," he said. He added that Mr. Bush was a good pilot and did not seek any favors.

Also getting into the Bush unit in 1968 was Lloyd Bentsen III, a recent graduate of Stanford University business school whose father was a former congressman later elected Democratic U.S. senator from Texas.

The waiting list

According to several former officers, the openings in the unit were filled from a waiting list kept in the base safe of Rufus G. Martin, then an Air National Guard personnel officer.

In a recent interview, Mr. Martin of San Antonio said the list was kept on computer and in a bound volume, which was periodically inspected by outside agencies to make sure the list was kept properly.

Mr. Bush said he sought the Guard position on his own, before graduating from Yale University in 1968. He personally met with Col. Walter B. Staudt, commander of the 147th group.

In an interview, Mr. Bush said he walked into Col. Staudt's Houston office and told him he wanted to be a fighter pilot.

"He told me they were looking for pilots," Mr. Bush said. He said he was told that there were five or six flying slots available, and he got one of them.

While Guard slots generally were coveted, pilot positions required superior education, physical fitness and the willingness to spend more than a year in full-time training.

"If somebody like that came along, you'd snatch them up," said the former commander, who retired as a general. "He took no advantage. It wouldn't have made any difference whether his daddy was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."

Bobby Hodges, the group's operations officer, and others familiar with Guard rules said Mr. Bush made it to the top of the short list of candidates who could pass both the written officer test and a rigorous flight physical to qualify for the three to four annual pilot training "quotas" allotted to the unit.

Mr. Hodges and Gen. Staudt are the two surviving members of the military panel that reviewed and approved Mr. Bush's officer commission.

Most of those wanting to get into the Guard at that time, they said, didn't want to put in the full year of active service that was required to become a pilot.

Pilot aptitude test

Records from his military file show that in January 1968, after inquiring about Guard admission, Mr. Bush went to an Air Force recruiting office near Yale, where he took and passed the test required by the Air Force for pilot trainees. His score on the pilot aptitude section, one of five on the test, was in the 25th percentile, the lowest allowed for would-be fliers.

Ralph J. Ianuzzi, a newly minted Air Force captain, supervised administration of the test and signed Mr. Bush's score sheet, an event of which he had no recollection.

The pilot portion of the exam included tasks such as identifying the angle of a plane in flight after being shown the view from the cockpit and figuring out which way a gear in a machine would turn in response to another gear's being turned.

"That score for pilot seems low. I made that, and I'm dyslexic," Mr. Ianuzzi, a retired FBI agent who never earned his wings but said it was significant that Mr. Bush did. "He passed the most important test. He flew the plane."

On the "officer quality section," designed to measure intangible traits such as leadership, Mr. Bush scored better than 95 percent of those taking the test.

It's impossible to compare Mr. Bush's score on the test to scores of other pilot candidates, because Air Force historians say no records survive of average scores for those accepted to pilot training.

Pilot training

After completing basic training in San Antonio in August 1968, he helped out aircraft mechanics at Ellington until that November, when a pilot-training slot came open.

He was promoted to second lieutenant and began a 13-month pilot training program at Moody Air Force Base, in Georgia.

He was the only Guardsman among the 70 or so officers from other branches of the military who began the training.

Under the terms of his contract with the military, if Mr. Bush had failed to complete pilot school, he would have been required to serve the Guard in some other capacity, to enter the draft, or to enlist in another branch of the military.

After passing flight training, Mr. Bush was schooled for several more months at Ellington, and in March 1970 began flying "alerts," the name used to describe the 147th's mission of guarding gulf coast borders against foreign attack.

In those days, just five years after the Cuban missile crisis, the 147th kept at least two fighters ready to scramble, round-the-clock, guarding Texas oil fields and refineries against airstrikes.

"It's kind of a non-threatening way to do your military, get paid well for some long shifts, and feel good about your own involvement," said Douglas W. Solberg, now an airline pilot, offering his reasons for joining the 147th and serving with Mr. Bush after an Air Force flying stint. "It was a cushy way to be a patriot."

A former non-commissioned officer who worked on planes and supervised other ground crews at Ellington said Mr. Bush was not a silver-spoon snob or elitist, unlike some former Air Force fliers.

"I remember him coming down, kicking the tires, washing the windows, whatever," said Joe H. Briggs, now of Houston. "I'm probably one of the few people around who'll admit I voted for Clinton. But I'll pull for this guy for president."

No overseas duty

Mr. Bush's application for the Guard included a box to be checked specifying whether he did or did not volunteer for overseas duty. His includes a check mark in the box not wanting to volunteer for such an assignment.

But several personnel officers said that part of the application for domestic Guard units routinely would be filled out that way by a clerk typist, then given to the applicant to sign.

Mr. Bush has said that he signed up for but lacked the number of flying hours to participate in a program called the Palace Alert, which eventually rotated nine pilots from his unit into duty in Southeast Asia from 1969 to 1970.

His signup and willingness to participate was confirmed by several of his colleagues and superiors, who remembered the effort as brash but admirable.

"The more experienced pilots were shaking their heads, saying, "He doesn't even know where to park the planes,' " said Albert C. Lloyd, then head of personnel for the Texas Air National Guard.

Some attention has also focused on Mr. Bush's departure from the service. Under his original oath, he was obligated to serve in the Guard until May 1974. Instead, he was allowed to leave in October 1973 to attend Harvard Business School.

Former Guard officials and members of Mr. Bush's unit said that release, seven months early, was not unusual for the Guard. Mr. Bush's unit was changing airplanes at the time, from the single-seat F-102 to the dual-seat F-101. They said it made little sense to retrain him for just a few months' service, and letting him go freed spots for the Guard to recruit F-101 pilots from the Air Force and elsewhere.
13 posted on 02/05/2004 8:22:27 AM PST by goodnesswins (If you're Voting Dem/Constitution Party/Libertarian/Not - I guess it's easier than using your brain.)
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To: SpinyNorman
Who really cares...besides, everyone from that era knows why and how people got into the Nat Guard.
14 posted on 02/05/2004 8:32:53 AM PST by stuartcr
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To: SpinyNorman
I'm honestly curious....just what is the military backround of Terry McAullife?
15 posted on 02/05/2004 8:36:52 AM PST by Howie66 ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.")
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To: SpinyNorman; PhiKapMom
Let's pretend that Michael Moore is right. He's not, but let's pretend he is.

What is this supposed to mean? That Kerry is braver than Bush? That's about all it could mean. That's the point.

George W. Bush will always be a marked man. There will be people, mostly Muslim nutcases, that will be wanting to kill him and his wife and his children for as long as they live. Bush knew this when he made the decisions he did after 9/11. He knew that what he was going to do would endanger him and his family. Forever. His wife Laura and his kids that he loves will never be safe. Never.

I don't hear many people talking about this. What Bush did for Americans. He put himself in harms way. And his family in harms way. For his country. For us. If that's not bravery nothing is.

16 posted on 02/05/2004 8:39:46 AM PST by isthisnickcool (Guns!)
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To: SpinyNorman


17 posted on 02/05/2004 8:47:35 AM PST by W04Man (Bush2004 Grassroots Campaign visit for FREE STICKERS)
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To: SpinyNorman

Walter V. Robinson

18 posted on 02/05/2004 8:48:26 AM PST by kcvl
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To: SpinyNorman
Lets do review President Bushs military service; HE WON TWO WARS!
19 posted on 02/05/2004 8:49:35 AM PST by SF Republican
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To: Always Right
His Alabama unit commander, in an interview, said Bush never appeared for duty.
Actually that is a lie. Turnipseed did not remember Bush showing up and even admitted that he (Turnispeed) was not around all that much during that time period.

Actually, Turnipseed has a horrible memory. I know him personally. My husband was full time in the Alabama Guard unit in question and served for 35 years. He worked with Turnipseed for years. Hubby was in Ops during the time in question. He said they had so many people in and out from other units making drills, it's no wonder nobody can say for sure who was where. The war was winding down and folks were getting out early right and left. As far as we're concerned Bush has proven his CIC ablity and everything else is irrelevant. The Dems don't want to put all their hopes in Turnipseed's recollections. Too many folks around here can tell tales about his absent mindedness.
20 posted on 02/05/2004 8:51:41 AM PST by Himyar
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