Skip to comments.Bush’s National Guard years Before you fall for Dems’ spin, here are the facts
Posted on 09/09/2004 1:26:43 PM PDT by DRILL SGT. D
Bushs National Guard years Before you fall for Dems spin, here are the facts
What do you really know about George W. Bushs time in the Air National Guard? That he didnt show up for duty in Alabama? That he missed a physical? That his daddy got him in?
News coverage of the presidents years in the Guard has tended to focus on one brief portion of that time to the exclusion of virtually everything else. So just for the record, here, in full, is what Bush did:
The future president joined the Guard in May 1968. Almost immediately, he began an extended period of training. Six weeks of basic training. Fifty-three weeks of flight training. Twenty-one weeks of fighter-interceptor training.
That was 80 weeks to begin with, and there were other training periods thrown in as well. It was full-time work. By the time it was over, Bush had served nearly two years.
Not two years of weekends. Two years.
After training, Bush kept flying, racking up hundreds of hours in F-102 jets. As he did, he accumulated points toward his National Guard service requirements. At the time, guardsmen were required to accumulate a minimum of 50 points to meet their yearly obligation.
According to records released earlier this year, Bush earned 253 points in his first year, May 1968 to May 1969 (since he joined in May 1968, his service thereafter was measured on a May-to-May basis).
Bush earned 340 points in 1969-1970. He earned 137 points in 1970-1971. And he earned 112 points in 1971-1972. The numbers indicate that in his first four years, Bush not only showed up, he showed up a lot. Did you know that?
That brings the story to May 1972 the time that has been the focus of so many news reports when Bush deserted (according to anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore) or went AWOL (according to Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee).
Bush asked for permission to go to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign. His superior officers said OK. Requests like that werent unusual, says retired Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush in 1970 and 1971.
In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots, Campenni says. The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In 72 or 73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem.
So Bush stopped flying. From May 1972 to May 1973, he earned just 56 points not much, but enough to meet his requirement.
Then, in 1973, as Bush made plans to leave the Guard and go to Harvard Business School, he again started showing up frequently.
In June and July of 1973, he accumulated 56 points, enough to meet the minimum requirement for the 1973-1974 year.
Then, at his request, he was given permission to go. Bush received an honorable discharge after serving five years, four months and five days of his original six-year commitment. By that time, however, he had accumulated enough points in each year to cover six years of service.
During his service, Bush received high marks as a pilot.
A 1970 evaluation said Bush clearly stands out as a top notch fighter interceptor pilot and was a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership.
A 1971 evaluation called Bush an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot who continually flies intercept missions with the unit to increase his proficiency even further. And a 1972 evaluation called Bush an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer.
Now, it is only natural that news reports questioning Bushs service in The Boston Globe and The New York Times, on CBS and in other outlets would come out now. Democrats are spitting mad over attacks on John Kerrys record by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
And, as it is with Kerry, its reasonable to look at a candidates entire record, including his military service or lack of it. Voters are perfectly able to decide whether its important or not in November.
The Kerry camp blames Bush for the Swift boat veterans attack, but anyone who has spent much time talking to the Swifties gets the sense that they are doing it entirely for their own reasons.
And it should be noted in passing that Kerry has personally questioned Bushs service, while Bush has not personally questioned Kerrys.
In April before the Swift boat veterans had said a word Kerry said Bush has yet to explain to America whether or not, and tell the truth, about whether he showed up for duty. Earlier, Kerry said, Just because you get an honorable discharge does not, in fact, answer that question.
Now, after the Swift boat episode, the spotlight has returned to Bush.
Thats fine. We should know as much as we can.
And perhaps someday Kerry will release more of his military records as well.
the purpose of monthly drills in the reserves and nat'l guard is to keep you trained so that you can perform in the case of activation, that is why you are required a minimum number of retirement points for a good year- and the points to which they are refering are retirement points. these points really only count for anything when it comes time to calculate your retirment benefits.
the fact is that in the reserves and nat'l guard, if your commander believes you to be worthy and not just looking for a free ride, they can allow you to miss months at a time. it is, for the most part, up to their discretion.
the only records of your attendance are your pay records and the sign-in sheet (which is rarely held onto for long). and when you sign in you see any number of names with either a "u" or an "a" in the signature block. the "u" stands for unsatisfactory, meaning that you are not excused, and the "a" stands for absent, as in excused absence. i have seen a drill sergeant buddy get "a's" for 4 months in a row to study abroad. he was allowed this luxury because he performed above the standard at other times and had earned leniency.
bush had a good year EVERY year of his service. one year was close, but still good, because he was working on a campaign trail...on-the-job-training for his future. and the chain of command in the reserves and nat'l guard understands that we are not active duty, and they tend to make allowances for this kind of situation.
so this article, found on the drudge report site, is a good one for those that dont know how the nat'l guard works.
Welcome to Free Republic!
Good article, Sergeant. Welcome aboard.
Suggestion! Use upper and lower case. All lower case is a bad profile on most posts. We don't want you to get profiled. Good article.
Good post, it explained a lot I didn't know.
Welcome to FR.
thank you! glad to be here! and if d.s. osbourne finds this, how are things in the old unit?
Welcome to the cutting edge Fellow FReeper!
Welcome to FR! Good first post...have you seen the story about Dan Rather's forged documents yet? We could use your military experience on those threads as well.
I'm out of practice when it comes to upper and lower case, but I'll give it a shot.
I don't think that I am who you think that I am. We're not even the same service. :-)
I've never been a paperwork guy (I'm military police), but I'll take a look. I guess having seen 10 years worth of military paperwork might give me some expertise.
I seldom use them in casual chat. But on FR it is a warning sign to many people.
I seldom use them in casual chat. But on FR it is a warning sign to many people.
Bump find later
Bump for later read
Not that its a problem to use capitals, but a warning sign of what?
My experience in the Army was similar. My experience dates back to 1975 and by then the Army was throwing O-3's and O-4's off active duty in reductions in force, or RIF's.
I'm going to print this out and MEMORIZE it verbatim, so I can better argue with those cretins who bash Bush while supporting creatures like Kerry the GI basher and Bill the draft doger Clinton.
We have infiltrators from the left that we call Trolls. They can't spell and use lower case too much. Their grammar is usually terrible.
There are a few people that will see these signs and announce a troll ping to their friends without reading everything. Then they descend on the poster in overwhelming numbers. It gets funny and nasty sometimes.
I read your post and comments before I even told you about the sign.
Welcome to Free Republic.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.