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"Bush's stint in Guard scrutinized": REBUTTAL TO TODAY'S WASHINGTON POST HIT PIECE
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.

TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: awol; bush; bushawol; bushguardservice; deserter; gwb2004; napalminthemorning; tang
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first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 101-109 next last's starting already. The Democrats suddenly feel they can attack Bush's military service and do so heedless of truth and facts, all because they have a Jane Fonda disciple they can claim is a Vietnam "war hero" who is about to be their candidate.

The article below refutes all the shop worn slanders being resurrected from the 2000 campaign by the Democrats which claims: A) Bush got preferential treatment to enter the Air National Guard B) That he got into the Guard to escape Vietnam service C) That he was AWOL during that time D) That he was given preferential treatment in being let out of the Guard early.

These are vicious and baseless lies being perpetuated by Democrats now that it appears they'll have a Vietnam veteran as their candidate (but forget the fact that he and they called the war "evil" and how can one now claim to be a war hero in a war they once said was so entirely wrong? And of course forget the fact that Vietnam service, not to mention outright draft dodging, was irrelevent to the DemoCRITES when it was Clinton).

The media has willingly and slavishly picked up this re-tread slander from the 2000 campaign in the service of their Democratic collegues and are AGAIN propogating this lie as they did in today's Washington Post. My gosh, the general election campaign is hardly even underway and these scumbag Democrats are already exhausting me with their lies and pathetic desperation tactics.

1 posted on 02/03/2004 2:24:53 PM PST by MikeA
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To: MikeA
Good Find, I am battling a 55 yo V-Nam vet(DEMO) with this,
2 posted on 02/03/2004 2:30:27 PM PST by cmsgop ( How Come Vic Tayback Never Won an Oscar ???????????????????????????????)
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To: MikeA
It will only get worse.....they have no they will lie .....cheat ......smear....scare....they hate this Preisdent like nothing I have ever seen.

This hate will only grow as the election just watch.

3 posted on 02/03/2004 2:34:55 PM PST by Dog
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To: MikeA
It seems obvious that the Democrats realize what is headed their way when they nominate the traitor John Kerry to lead their charge into November. They really have no choice but to attack GWB's military background, because as the Democratic nominee, Kerry will be clobbered on this issuse. However, the Democrats should be very wary of trying to show an allegiance to the military when they ally themselves with the likes of Jane Fonda and other traitors of her ilk. Any person who has been in the military service under a Democratic Administration in the last thirty years knows these people despise the military almost as much as they do morality. These Vietnam veterans who support John Kerry are simply pouring salt into their old war wounds.


4 posted on 02/03/2004 2:45:22 PM PST by Muleteam1
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To: MikeA
BUMP for great freeping.
5 posted on 02/03/2004 2:46:45 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: MikeA
For the record.Type of Discharge: HONORABLE

6 posted on 02/03/2004 2:50:40 PM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: MikeA
You know, Rush said today that if this is the Democrats' line of attack, it is laughable. It'll never work, Americans aren't going to buy it...the time to raise the issue was 2000, some tried and FAILED to make G.W. look like a deserter, and it really looks good for Bush if this is the best they've got.
7 posted on 02/03/2004 2:51:06 PM PST by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: Recovering_Democrat
I think Rush is right, but for a slightly different reason. Many Americans, especially those who have never served, don't know the difference between a "civilian" and a "veteran." The mere appearance of Bush in the flight suit and the Army jacket at Thanksgiving makes him look FAR more "military" than any number of references to John Kerry's old (and, I'm sure, well-deserved) medals. Those old medals---valor of byegone days---didn't do George H. W. Bush a bit of good vs. Clinton, and won't do Kerry or Clark a bit of good against a guy viewed as a "soldier's soldier," G.W.
8 posted on 02/03/2004 2:57:11 PM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrack of news.)
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To: Dog
This story reminds me of the man who taught me to fly.

He was a retired Colonel who was an ace and had shot down migs in both Korea and Nam.

After he retired from the air force he did some instructing. I was his very first student. I remember having a bit of trouble with one fairly involved maneuver and I asked him how to do it. He said, "Just move the controls so the plane goes where you want it to go."

But the thing that blew my mind was that he nearly flunked out of primary flight school in the Air Force.

Like Bush he scored high on leadership and a bit low on natural flying skills. He showed me in his log book that it had taken him twice as many hours of flight time to solo as it had me.

He told me once that you could teach a chimpanzee to fly an plane. I'm not sure if he was referring to me or not. But I don know you can't teach leadership, keeping cool, and maintaining composure. And those characteristics is what it takes to make a great fighter pilot.

Good judgment and cool under fire beats fast reflexes every time.

9 posted on 02/03/2004 2:58:43 PM PST by Common Tator
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To: MikeA
10 posted on 02/03/2004 2:59:46 PM PST by kitkat
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: MikeA
I guess it's a matter of time before the Democratic party is rendered destroyed. They've got nothing else to run on, except scorched Earth hit pieces. Bush in 4 years has rendered them basically unelectable.
12 posted on 02/03/2004 3:03:43 PM PST by BigSkyFreeper (All Our Base Are Belong To Dubya)
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To: MikeA
Yep...and if it was Bush that got the Silver Star in Vietnam for what some have called a war crime, I can guarantee that they would be attacking him for that. While I applaud Kerry's service and the actions he took in battle, if he was a Republican, the left would be calling this "war hero" a coward for murdering a wounded and retreating soldier. The hypocrisy of listening to Moore condemn Bush while he supports "General" Clark and defends "Lt." Kerry's war record, is unbelievable. These guys make heroes out of anyone who tried to avoid Vietnam...especially if they protested the US from foreign soil. Hey, maybe that's were Bush went wrong:)
13 posted on 02/03/2004 3:04:26 PM PST by cwb (Dean = Dr. Jeckyll exposing his Hyde)
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To: MikeA
The media has willingly and slavishly picked up this re-tread slander from the 2000 campaign

Would that be the same media who told us that Clinton's draft dodging wasn't an issue because it was a long time ago, and anyway, Vietnam was an unpopular war.

It surprises me that the dems are willing to slander National Guard service as somehow unworthy if not downright unpatriotic. Don't former guardsmen vote?

14 posted on 02/03/2004 3:06:20 PM PST by stop_fascism
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To: MikeA
Great info, useful for combatting the desertion BIG LIE.

It astonishes me that people can believe things like this which are so easily proven false.

Bush's Guard service also gives lie to the "he's stupid" bashers: stupid people don't fly F-102s (well, not for very long, anyway).
15 posted on 02/03/2004 3:08:58 PM PST by AminoAcid
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To: Dog
I find this tactic employed by the Democrats utterly pathetic. They were proven liars once, they think they'll skate through this time? I don't think so. It'll only get worse as the independent Iraq invasion investigation gets going.

Since before the Iraq war I was pleading with Republicans to let the Democrats do their investigating. Trust me, they'll be using the same intelligence that they saw when they pleaded with Clinton to bomb Baghdad in hopes of toppling Saddam. As with everything the Democrats do, they failed. They'll fail yet again.

16 posted on 02/03/2004 3:09:21 PM PST by BigSkyFreeper (All Our Base Are Belong To Dubya)
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To: MikeA
For those interested, below is my letter to the editor replying to the Post carrying the Democrat's water for them in today's attack piece on Bush, a slander now thoroughly discredited but that the Dems. are again planting in the media and their stooges are willing to print:

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20071

February 3, 2004

To the Letters Editor:

Lois Romano's piece "Bush's Guard Service in Question" (Feb. 3, 2004), propagates unjustified innuendo in asserting that "a review of Bush's military records shows that Bush enjoyed preferential treatment as the son of a then-congressman, when he walked into a Texas Guard unit... and was moved to the top of a long waiting list."

While it is true Bush was moved to the top of the waiting list, it is not fair to leave hanging the implication that this preference was due to his father's influence or position. Indeed, a July 4, 1999 Dallas Morning News Piece "Bush's Stint in Guard Scrutinized" corrects this shop worn accusation by stating: "Officers who supervised Mr. Bush and approved his admission to the Guard said they were never contacted by anyone on Mr. Bush's behalf."

The article goes on to quote Bobby Hodges and General Walter Staudt, the surviving members of the panel that approved Bush's officer commission, as saying that Bush was moved to the head of the admissions list because he was one of the few recruits who could both immediately commit to the 14 month full time activity duty status required to complete pilot training as well as pass the officer written exam and the rigorous flight physical. Few other recruits could meet these requirements.

Along with these facts, a little more investigation by Ms. Romano would also have uncovered a July 2000 New York Times piece which after looking into Bush's military records exonerated Mr. Bush of dereliction of his Guard commitments. Bush made up for missed time, allowable under Guard regulation so long as it's completed in the same quarter which Bush did do, and absences were no where near as long as Col. Turnipseed's faulty memory claimed. Indeed, Bush reported for duty during many of these supposedly missed dates according to the records.

Such reckless charges against the president need to be more thoroughly questioned as what promises to be a very ugly, attack dog campaign by his opponents unfolds.

17 posted on 02/03/2004 3:10:03 PM PST by MikeA
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To: Common Tator
Good judgment and cool under fire beats fast reflexes every time.

It has helped President Bush, too, and will help in the months to come when the Dems trot all this crap out again!

18 posted on 02/03/2004 3:11:42 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: MikeA
My only question to the Democrats is this, since when is a military record so important to you? Many of you have spent a lifetime dodging, lying and ridiculing the United States Armed Services. The only military record Bill Clinton had was a letter of rebuke and loathing, and the dems have specifically said and defended his hatred.
19 posted on 02/03/2004 3:12:45 PM PST by Toespi
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To: MikeA
I have always found it odd that anyone would think that Congressman Bush would have much influence on the Texas Guard in 1968. At that time EVERY statewide office was held by a dim, and we had only two Republican Congressmen and one Senator along with a handful of legislators. No one cared what the Republicans thought.
20 posted on 02/03/2004 3:13:50 PM PST by HoustonCurmudgeon (PEACE - Through Superior Firepower)
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