by John Hawkins | February 5, 2004 1:17 am
The whole “Bush was AWOL” meme that the media and the Democrats are pushing right now is the biggest sack of nothing since they tried to tie Bush to Enron. It’s a tempest a teapot that had no real impact in 2000 and that no one is going to care about in November of 2004. Especially since there is absolutely no “there there”.
Let me give you a rundown of Bush’s time in the Guard. In 1968, Bush joined the National Guard after scoring in the, “25th percentile as a pilot (qualifying, but just barely), in the 50th percentile as a navigator (promising material), and in the 95th percentile as an officer (outstanding).”
Bush wasn’t just a weekend warrior back then either,
“(From 1968-1972) Bush served the equivalent of 21 months on active duty, according to the Globe account, including more than a year of flight training. The Globe quoted Bush’s flight instructor, retired Col. Maurice H. Udell, as saying “I would rank him in the top 5 percent of pilots I knew.”
Then in 1972, Bush went to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign and was to fulfill his National Guard duties, albeit not as a pilot, there. But, from May of 1972 to May of 1973, some people are claiming that there is no record of George Bush reporting for duty. Moreover, officer William Turnipseed, who Bush was supposed to report to, has no recollection of ever talking to Bush during that period. This is where the fictitious AWOL charge comes from.
However, as the Boston Globe originally reported when they broke this story, the military itself said in 1973 of Bush’s “missing time”, “report for this period not available for administrative reasons”. So, they’re in effect saying that they lost the paperwork. Moreover, Turnipseed recently reported to the WAPO that, “he could not recall if he, himself, was on the base much at that time”. On top of that, here’s the coup de grace that was originally reported by the New York Times way back on Nov 3, 2003…
“Mr. Bartlett pointed to a document in Mr. Bush’s military records that showed credit for four days of duty ending Nov. 29 and for eight days ending Dec. 14, 1972, and, after he moved back to Houston, on dates in January, April and May. The May dates correlated with orders sent to Mr. Bush at his Houston apartment on April 23, 1973, in which Sgt. Billy B. Lamar told Mr. Bush to report for active duty on May 1-3 and May 8-10.”
I want to sum all of this up for those who may be confused or alternately in the case of people like Max Cleland, Michael Moore, and Terry Mcauliffe, are lying through their teeth. George Bush served during that “missing year”, the military never categorized George Bush as a “deserter” or “AWOL”, and Bush was given an honorable discharge after putting in some more time in 1973. So there is absolutely no substance, none, to charges that George Bush was ever “AWOL” from the National Guard. Therefore anyone who claims there is must either be ignorant of the all the facts that have been brought to light, a liar, or some combination thereof.
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