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Bush and Uncommon Valor
IntellectualConservative.com ^ | February 28, 2004 | Colonel John H. Wambough, Jr., USAF (Retired)

Posted on 02/28/2004 7:39:39 PM PST by az4vlad

A former combat fighter pilot explains how the Democrats' witch hunt against Bush's record in the military denigrates service in the National Guard. Bush could have been assigned anywhere, including combat, and it was common for supervisors to release pilots early if they had alternative careers or college education to pursue.

George Bush and I were fighter pilots. Lt. Bush flew F - 102s in the Air National Guard (ANG) – 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS); I flew F-105s in combat - 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS). Both our flying assignments were inherently dangerous – Lt. Bush’s because of the high performance nature of the fighter interceptor aircraft he was flying, the training required to fly the F-102, and the high risks that come with all weather (night and day) intercept missions.

Senator John Kerry, the Democratic National Committee’s Mr. Terry McAuliffe and the anti-war (weak on National Security) left-wing of the Democrat Party have relentlessly attacked the service of Lt. Bush and by inference other pilots and service members in the ANG and Reserve forces as cowards and shirkers of responsibility for not being in Vietnam. Their flippant slandering of our Guard and Reserve forces in an effort to discredit President Bush and win an election is beyond the pale. They have no decency left.

Lt. Bush’s opportunity to fly jets and serve his country came through the Air National Guard when he was 22 years old. Just like Lt. Bush, my goal as a young man was to fly high performance jet fighter aircraft – both of us realized our dream. I might have been just a dumb fighter pilot but I don’t remember looking ahead (and I’m sure Lt. Bush didn’t either) to what missions we could be assigned -- peacetime or wartime. All we wanted to do as young men was to fly these magnificent flying machines (jets) and enjoy the opportunity to serve our country. (Contributing to the Air National Guard’s Air Defense mission, Lt. Bush flew hundreds of hours in the F-102 -- the world's first supersonic all-weather jet interceptor aircraft; he served his country protecting the United States).

Neither Lt. Bush nor I had control over mission assignment, where we would be deployed or how the service would task the units we were assigned. Lt. Bush would have gladly gone to Vietnam or anywhere else his unit was deployed - but the reality was that young Lt. Bush had no say as to how his unit would be utilized to support our country’s National Security interests. I guess you could say such decisions were above our pay grade. Lt. Bush’s mission, as a squadron fighter interceptor pilot, was to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft inbound to the United States; for example, Soviet Nuclear Bombers. Remember, we were still in the Cold War in the 1970’s with Air Defense a high priority mission. Today our Air Defense forces protect us against aircraft with terrorists onboard.

I can say from my experience that flying operational fighter jets is highly dangerous. People don’t strap fighter jets to their backside if they are overly concerned for their future. While in F-105 training at McConnell AFB in early 1968, we lost five aircraft in six weeks (one aircraft crashed in air-to-air combat training; one aircraft crashed on the air-to-ground gunnery range; one crashed on take off; one crashed on final approach at a nearby airfield and one crashed coming back from a cross-country mission). My nephew was killed while flying a Marine Corp EA-6B Prowler during a low level state-side training mission. I was in a flight where an F-105 pilot was killed while we were training on an air-ground gunnery range. Also, I’ve been in F -105 and F-111 operational units where a number of pilots were killed while training for their war time mission. We got really good at flying "Missing Man Formations" and doing memorial services for our fallen comrades and their families. I can assure you that Lt. Bush was continuously exposed to similar dangers during all weather scrambles and during training exercises as evidenced by the F-102 pilots killed in his unit.

Cowards (or people who lack courage) don’t take on the risks that Lt Bush did in flying Fighter Interceptor Aircraft. Flying jets in wing formation in the weather and carrying explosive ordnance on board is dangerous work. The pilots in these squadrons (including Lt. Bush) did what their country asked them to do. They performed their assigned mission and did it well. In November 1970, the Commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, called Mr. Bush, then 24, "a dynamic outstanding young officer" who stood out as "a top-notch fighter interceptor pilot". "Lt. Bush's skills far exceed his contemporaries," Colonel Killian wrote: "He is a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership. Lt. Bush is also a good follower with outstanding disciplinary traits and an impeccable military bearing."

As a Fighter Squadron Commander in the Air Force (F – 111E aircraft, 55 TFS, Royal Air Force, Upper Heyford, United Kingdom) and having been in fighter squadrons during my career in the Air Force, all I can say is that the young people who make up these squadrons (like Lt. Bush) are the cream of the crop, top performers, talented, courageous and willing to take on any mission challenge presented to them, anytime, anyplace and anywhere. Everyone in a unit realizes that they serve to protect the National Security Interests of the United States and that they can be mobilized – with short notice – to deploy anywhere in the world.

During the Vietnam conflict, military pilot training was greatly expanded to accommodate the increased need for pilots. Thousands of pilots were trained during this conflict – to support mission and pilot rotation requirements. F-105, F 4 fighter pilots and the pilots of other combat aircraft were routinely rotated out of the combat theatre after completing their 100 combat missions. That meant that other pilots needed to be trained to take their place. As the Vietnam conflict began to phase down around 1971, there was a surplus of hundreds of pilots in the US Military, for which there were relatively few flying jobs. Thus, the active duty force as well as ANG and Reserve forces could be very accommodative to those that wanted to pursue alternative career paths (such as Lt. Bush going to Harvard Business School). In fact, these sorts of administrative actions (early releases) helped alleviate the challenges facing the services of a pilot surplus. Also, commanders were lenient in allowing individuals to fulfill their service obligations in ways not involving flying duty. Such arrangements were coordinated at the unit level.

Just as Lt. Bush’s supervisor released him from the ANG to go to Harvard, I released a pilot from the Air Force months early (when I was Commander of the 4442nd Tactical Control Group) so he could participate in the pilot hiring cycle of Delta Airlines. I could have held this pilot to the end of his service commitment but chose not to – since letting him go early created no hardship to our unit. Rather, it gave a pilot (who had served his country well) an immediate opportunity for a future career. I point this fact out so that the public knows that Commanders have the prerogative to make decisions that take into consideration the needs of the Unit and the needs of an individual ready to make a career transition out of the service. Having been a Squadron Commander, I can tell you this – we know the status of our assigned personnel all the time – everyone is accounted for. We reported the status of all our squadron personnel daily to a higher level in our organization. Likewise, Lt. Bush’s Squadron Commander of 30 plus years ago (Lt. Col. Killian – now deceased), would have known where Lt. Bush was or, at least, how to contact him should that have been necessary. The bottom line: Lt. Bush’s documented Air National Guard service exceeded the requirements set forth in his Guard contract and Lt. Bush received an Honorable Discharge.

As Lt. Bush completed his flying assignment in April 1972, F-102s were being phased out of the Air National Guard. What we know is that he served honorably; he flew fighter jets; he embraced the inherent high risk of flying an F -102; he served our country; he met his Air National Guard requirements and he received an Honorable Discharge. The attacks on Lt. Bush are designed to diminish Lt. Bush’s service to our country in the eyes of our citizens and soldiers some thirty years after Lt. Bush received an Honorable Discharge. This is truly reprehensible and driven by political adversaries like Senator Kerry, Mr. Terry McAuliffe and their left-wing media surrogates. (Go to cspan.org for the White House Press Briefing with Scott McClellan on 02/10/04 - the impetus for me to write this letter).

There is a much bigger story to be told then anything related to Lt. Bush’s honorable service to our country. It is the story of a fringe element of the Democrat Party (as represented by Senator Kerry from Massachusetts and Mr. Terry McAuliffe of the DNC) that will stoop to any depth to obtain political power to include: attacking the motives of our service members (ANG and Reserve); it is a fringe element that is willing to undermine the confidence of our fighting forces in their Commander in Chief in the midst of our global war on terrorism; it is a fringe element that places political power higher on their priority list than U.S. National Security; otherwise, they wouldn’t be denigrating and diminishing ANG and Reserve Service in an effort to undermine the credibility of the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.

Political leadership should be looking ahead not behind. But since we are looking 30 years behind I will make several comments: (1) I served with true heroes although none of the guys I served with ever felt of themselves as heroes – they just put their butts on the line every day whether flying in operational, combat or training units; (2) Lt. Bush put his butt on the line every time he scrambled on an Air Defense mission. He is a true hero that our soldiers and citizens should be rightfully proud of and (3) the service of our Guard and Reserve soldiers should never be denigrated or diminished for political purposes or to win an election -- as is being done by Senator Kerry and Mr. Terry McAuliffe.

Like many veterans of Vietnam, I returned to a country that was, for the most part, unappreciative of the service rendered by our fighting forces. It is sad that this attack on our Commander in Chief results in reopening the feelings and wounds of bygone years and brings back thoughts of many comrades in arms that never returned to United States – having given their lives for their country.

Although it is fair to recognize Senator Kerry’s four month war record and medals, it is what he did after leaving the military that deserves the greatest scrutiny. He became a turn coat by misrepresenting to the American public what our soldiers were doing in Southeast Asia. As part of the anti-war movement with Jane Fonda, he maligned, mocked and discredited our soldiers while they were still engaged in battle. He lied about what our soldiers were doing in combat. He defamed our brave fighting men. The ultimate insult our citizens could inflict on the Armed Forces of the United States would be to vote into office (as Commander in Chief) the person who betrayed his comrades in arms while they were still fighting and dying on the battlefield and in air combat.

Further, military people understand that Senator Kerry has voted against the major weapon systems needed by the military to carry out their mission. Additionally, he has voted against CIA funding of human intelligence needed to preclude attacks on our country (such as 9/11) and protect our citizens and soldiers overseas. Senator Kerry voted for the war in IRAQ and then voted against funding the war after our troops were placed in harms way.

As we all know, since 9/11, our country has been at war with International Terrorism. Instead of supporting our national leadership (in taking the battle to our terrorist enemies), a cabal of power hungry politicians, supported by the left-wing media elites and their vitriolic followers, have done everything they could to undermine our war on terror, our troops and the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. Today we look with pride at our service people who risk their lives everyday for us. I’m grateful that we now have a population that, for the most part, appreciates our Armed Forces and their efforts to defend us. We need to fully support our soldiers and their Commander in Chief. Our country’s success in fighting the war on terror depends on our (1) supporting those that are on the front line protecting us and (2) standing by the Commander in Chief that is taking the battle to the enemy.

We have not been attacked in the United States after 9/11 because we have a President and an Administration that have been proactive in going after the National Security threats to United States. Just think about how our National Security would "likely" have been handled by the anti-war left of the Democrat party and Senator Kerry. We would "likely" still be debating what to do in United Nations; Afghanistan would "likely" still be under control of the Taliban; IRAQ would still be under the control of Saddam Hussein and cities in United States would have come under attack on multiple occasions as terrorist organizations were further emboldened by our meek responses. We would "likely" be negotiating with al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations to preclude further attacks on our cities.

The question everyone needs to ask themselves before voting in November is: who do you trust to handle our National Security? I trust President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Who do you trust?


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bush; fighterpilot; georgebush; johnkerry; militaryrecord; militaryservice; nationalguard; wambough

1 posted on 02/28/2004 7:39:40 PM PST by az4vlad
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To: az4vlad
Like many veterans of Vietnam, I returned to a country that was, for the most part, unappreciative of the service rendered by our fighting forces. It is sad that this attack on our Commander in Chief results in reopening the feelings and wounds of bygone years and brings back thoughts of many comrades in arms that never returned to United States – having given their lives for their country.
2 posted on 02/28/2004 7:44:52 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi Mac ... Support Our Troops! ... NO NO NO NO on Props 55-58)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
As we all know, since 9/11, our country has been at war with International Terrorism. Instead of supporting our national leadership (in taking the battle to our terrorist enemies), a cabal of power hungry politicians, supported by the left-wing media elites and their vitriolic followers, have done everything they could to undermine our war on terror, our troops and the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.


Ouch!

3 posted on 02/28/2004 7:46:37 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi Mac ... Support Our Troops! ... NO NO NO NO on Props 55-58)
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To: NormsRevenge
They have no decency left.

The only correction I would make, is that they never had any decency to begin with.

4 posted on 02/28/2004 8:07:10 PM PST by SAMWolf (I even have boring dreams...I fall asleep in my sleep!)
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To: az4vlad; NormsRevenge; SAMWolf
This is a good article.

Pity no one will ever read it.
5 posted on 02/28/2004 8:09:43 PM PST by Old Sarge
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To: snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo; colorado tanker
Although it is fair to recognize Senator Kerry’s four month war record and medals, it is what he did after leaving the military that deserves the greatest scrutiny. He became a turn coat by misrepresenting to the American public what our soldiers were doing in Southeast Asia. As part of the anti-war movement with Jane Fonda, he maligned, mocked and discredited our soldiers while they were still engaged in battle. He lied about what our soldiers were doing in combat. He defamed our brave fighting men. The ultimate insult our citizens could inflict on the Armed Forces of the United States would be to vote into office (as Commander in Chief) the person who betrayed his comrades in arms while they were still fighting and dying on the battlefield and in air combat.

6 posted on 02/28/2004 8:10:25 PM PST by SAMWolf (I even have boring dreams...I fall asleep in my sleep!)
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To: az4vlad
Be nice if some newspapers would carry this.
7 posted on 02/28/2004 8:12:39 PM PST by Brasil ("The cause of freedom is in good hands." GWB)
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To: SAMWolf
I hope this somehow makes it to the mainstream media. I know, I'm a dreamer! Thanks for the ping.
8 posted on 02/28/2004 8:14:34 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Old Sarge
I read it. And saved it.
9 posted on 02/28/2004 8:14:45 PM PST by Tawiskaro
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To: kellynla; river rat; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ALOHA RONNIE
ping
10 posted on 02/28/2004 8:23:14 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi Mac ... Support Our Troops! ... NO NO NO NO on Props 55-58)
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To: az4vlad
A$$ Kicking article.
11 posted on 02/28/2004 8:36:36 PM PST by Redcoat LI ("If you're going to shoot,shoot,don't talk" Tuco BenedictoPacifico Juan Maria Ramirez)
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To: NormsRevenge; az4vlad; Ragtime Cowgirl; Calpernia; SierraWasp; Grampa Dave; oceanview; ...
Outstanding article!

Needs an audience....ping for help!
12 posted on 02/28/2004 8:40:50 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; MoJo2001; xzins; LiteKeeper; streetpreacher; Kathy in Alaska; LindaSOG; ..
fyi
13 posted on 02/28/2004 8:43:31 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thank you for the ping!!

Very important read!!
14 posted on 02/28/2004 8:45:23 PM PST by MoJo2001 (Register To Vote -- Your Voice! Your Vote! Stand Up and Be Counted!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thank you for the ping.

And, thank you to Colonel John H. Wambough, Jr., USAF (Retired) for the letter and his service to our country!

Bump
15 posted on 02/28/2004 8:55:42 PM PST by Fawnn (Canteen wOOhOO Consultant and CookingWithPam.com person)
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To: AreaMan
I certainly don't think they will be inclined to listen to our side of the debate with that type of language. I didn't like it when I heard Kerry use the F-word and I don't like it when I see other conservatives use it to attempt to further our cause.
17 posted on 02/28/2004 9:14:59 PM PST by Valentine_W
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To: AreaMan
Don't try that again.

That is not welcome here.

18 posted on 02/28/2004 9:37:44 PM PST by smoothsailing (Eagles Up !!!!!)
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To: AreaMan
I liked that WWII era poster! That shouldn't be pulled. The term "liberal" wasn't profane back then. (hee-hee)
19 posted on 02/28/2004 9:38:59 PM PST by My Dog Likes Me
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
BTTT for tomorrow!!

Thanks for the ping.
20 posted on 02/28/2004 10:55:27 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (Pray for America and Israel)
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To: Brad's Gramma
What this tomorrow ch-E-it? You cutting out early tonight?
21 posted on 02/28/2004 10:59:12 PM PST by onyx
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To: maica; Freee-dame
Good summary of what it meant to be an F-102 pilot in 1971.
22 posted on 02/28/2004 11:03:28 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: onyx
I think so...I'm really tired. Not that I'll sleep once I get to bed, but hey.

A girl has to try!
23 posted on 02/28/2004 11:04:40 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (Pray for America and Israel)
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To: Brad's Gramma

OK. :( Nite girlfriend.
24 posted on 02/28/2004 11:12:22 PM PST by onyx
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To: az4vlad
BTTT
25 posted on 02/29/2004 12:56:29 AM PST by Right_in_Virginia
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
This is simply terrific..One thing FR gave me was the opportunity to say "Thank you and welcome home" to some vets who did not hear or experience that all those years ago.

God bless our armed forces and their loved ones who wait at home.
26 posted on 02/29/2004 5:37:52 AM PST by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
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To: az4vlad
Bump
27 posted on 02/29/2004 5:41:18 AM PST by sport
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To: az4vlad
The author repeats himself alot--but it was a great letter overall.

Flying high performance aircraft is inherently dangerous--and his reference to friends killed in training accidents and getting too much practice at the missing man formation during funerals brings back some not so fond memories.

Terry McAwful and Kerry are slime for what they tried to do regarding Bush's service...too bad the media, liberals, and many Americans who pull the "D" lever in November are too evil to notice.

28 posted on 02/29/2004 5:58:49 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Right_in_Virginia
BTTT
29 posted on 02/29/2004 5:59:00 AM PST by Right_in_Virginia
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To: NormsRevenge; All
Thanks for the ping, Norm. Excellent piece. It just reaffirms what conservatives have known for decades; that the liberals, who haven't won a war since 1945, have utter disdain for the military and anyone who is religious and/or an American patriot. Kerry's testimony before the Senate Committee in 1971 was scandalous. I can say unequivocally that there were no "mass atrocities" by Americans in Vietnam. PERIOD! Kerry is a bald faced liar! I even have serious questions about the legitimacy of Kerry's 3 Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star in less than 4 months in combat. Semper Fi, Kelly
30 posted on 02/29/2004 9:10:42 AM PST by kellynla (U.S.M.C. "C" 1/5 1st Mar Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi VOTE "NO" ON PROPOSITIONS 55-58)
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To: az4vlad; SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; ALOHA RONNIE; Grampa Dave; MeekOneGOP; autoresponder; ...
In November 1970, the Commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, called Mr. Bush, then 24, "a dynamic outstanding young officer" who stood out as "a top-notch fighter interceptor pilot". "Lt. Bush's skills far exceed his contemporaries," Colonel Killian wrote: "He is a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership. Lt. Bush is also a good follower with outstanding disciplinary traits and an impeccable military bearing."

~~~

Phil's note: While John Fifthcolumn Kerry used three grape Band-Aids to bug out from his "band of brothers", get his preppie ass back to the world, where he could carry water for Ho Chi Minh.

Col. Bui Tin--who was among the first Communist officers entering Saigon in triumph--told the Wall Street Journal in 1995 that antiwar protestors were "essential" to the Communists' strategy.

Kerry helped win the war--for the Communists--by slandering his "band of brothers" as "war criminals, murderers, and rapists".

Kerry then voted against the weapons systems our fighting men and women have relied upon to defeat Communism and terrorism--B-1, B-2, F-14, F-15, F-117, Apache, Aegis, Patriot, MX, Seawolf, et cetera et cetera.

As pointed out above, Kerry has tried to cut intelligence budgets by billions--thus insuring lethal catastrophe.

We are fortunate to have a leader who appreciates the service of our fighting forces, supports them, respects them--and leads them in defense of the nation.

We are not about to allow a Quisling who stifled POW-MIA investigations to facilitate his cousin Forbes' real estate windfalls access to the levers of power.

When John Ferret Kerry asks, "Do you know who I am?" the response can't help being, "Get thee behind Me, Satan"--we thereby avoid the use of expletives which is his wont.

31 posted on 02/29/2004 5:29:33 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: az4vlad
More info can also be found on this thread:


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1079247/posts


Enjoy: Defender2 D2
32 posted on 02/29/2004 5:32:48 PM PST by Defender2 (Defending Our Bill of Rights, Our Constitution, Our Country and Our Freedom!!!!)
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To: PhilDragoo; jennyp





33 posted on 02/29/2004 7:51:29 PM PST by autoresponder (JAMES BOND: http://00access.tripod.com/007.html J-FK: http://00access.tripod.com/Kerry-11.html)
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To: az4vlad
The President has the "right stuff."

He's the man for America and American's know it instinctively.

34 posted on 02/29/2004 8:03:22 PM PST by Edgewood Pilot
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To: PhilDragoo
Bump!
35 posted on 02/29/2004 9:41:55 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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