Bush received credit for attending Air National
Guard drills in the fall of 1972 and spring of
1973 -- a period when his commanders have said
he did not appear for duty at bases in Montgomery,
Ala., and Houston -- according to two new documents
obtained by the Globe.
personnel records, covering Bush's Guard service
between May 1972 and May 1973, constitute the
first evidence that Bush appeared for any duty
during the first 11 months of that 12-month period.
Bush is recorded as having served the minimum
number of days expected of Guard members in that
12 months of service time.
of the documents lists nine service periods of
2 to 3 days each and records the points Bush earned
toward his service retirement benefit. The other
is a summary of his service in the 12 months beginning
May 1972, and lists the same number of service
points earned. View
Bush military document
Bartlett, the White House communications director,
said last night that the listing of service dates,
which the White House intends to make public today,
documents Bush's longstanding assertion that he
fulfilled his military obligation.
the documents seem unlikely to resolve questions
about whether Bush shirked his duty during his
tour as a fighter-interceptor pilot for the Texas
Air Guard during the Vietnam War. That is because
some of the dates on the service list fell during
a period in the fall of 1972 when Bush was reassigned
to a guard unit in Alabama. The commander of the
Alabama unit has said Bush did not appear for
duty at his assigned unit there.
said the Guard drills Bush is listed as attending
in January and April 1973 were probably conducted
at Bush's home base in Houston. But on May 2,
1973, Bush's two commanders at Ellington Air Force
Base wrote that they could not evaluate his performance
for the prior 12 months because he had not been
there. Two other Bush superiors said in interviews
four years ago that they do not believe Bush ever
returned to his Houston base from Alabama.
Globe obtained both of the documents from a political
activist who says he acquired them in December
2000 from the Air Reserve Personnel Center in
Colorado. The activist, Bob Fertig, is a cofounder
of Democrats.com, a website that has no formal
affiliation with the Democratic Party.
document that Bartlett has and plans to release
is a short list of retirement points earned by
Bush for training days in October and November
1972 and in January, April, and May 1973.
partial, torn copy of that document was made available
to the news media by Bush aides in 2000, when
questions about his Guard service were raised.
The torn copy listed the number of training days,
but showed neither service dates nor Bush's name
-- both were in the torn-away portion. But Bush's
Social Security number was visible on one copy
obtained by the Globe.
explanation has been offered for how the document
was torn or why an undamaged copy was not available
second document, which Bartlett said the White
House had not yet obtained, is Bush's personnel
record card for the period of May 27, 1972, to
May 26, 1973. As is the case with Guard members,
Bush, the card shows, was generally given 2 points
for each day of weekend training.
this card, unlike those for the other years of
Bush's service, does not itemize Bush's individual
day of service; it gives only a total. The personnel
record card also indicates that Bush was on flying
status, even though he never flew for his unit
after April 1972.
in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press,"
insisted that he had attended Guard drills during
the 12 months beginning May 1972. The president
also said that during the 2000 campaign, the Colorado
record facility had been "scoured" to ensure that
everything had been made public.
Bush agreed to make public all of his military
records. Asked last night whether the White House
would authorize the Colorado records facility
to make public all of Bush's records, Bartlett
said any that are germane would be made public
after being reviewed by the White House. On this
issue, Bartlett said, the practice has been to
release every document.
said he could not explain why Fertig's group had
access to more documents than the White House.
called for an independent investigation. Noting
that the new documents are contradicted by other
public documents, and statements by Bush's Guard
superiors, Fertig said the public has a right
to know whether Bush received credit for duty
he did not perform.
Guard service began in earnest after he graduated
from flight school in November 1969. He then returned
to Ellington for six months of training in the
F-102 fighter-interceptor, and then from June
1970 until April 1972, he flew frequently.
the following month, he won permission to move
to Alabama for several months to work on the US
Senate campaign of Winton Blount, a Republican.
In Montgomery, Bush was supposed to do periodic
drills with another Guard unit. But its commander
has said Bush never appeared. Bush has said he
did, but does not recall what duties he performed.
September 1972, Bush was removed from flight duty
for failing to have his annual physical.
to the two documents, Bush accumulated 41 service
points by appearing for duty on 24 days between
May 1972 and May 1973. He received 15 "gratuitous"
points for being in the military, for a total
of 56 points. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Albert.
C. Lloyd Jr., a former personnel director for
the Texas Air Guard, said in an interview last
night that the minimum number of points required
for any year was 50, although most Guardsmen logged
document shows he satisfactorily completed his
military obligation for that year," Lloyd said.
record of days served ran from May to May each
year because he entered the Air National Guard
in May 1968, just after graduating from Yale.
records, which were disclosed four years ago,
show that Bush was ordered to appear for a flurry
of duty days in May, June, and July 1973 -- orders
that Lloyd said in 2000 may have been issued because
Bush's commanders realized he had not been fulfilling
his requirements. The records obtained yesterday
indicate that Bush would not have made his minimum
for that year but for seven days of duty in May
final duty day was on July 30, 1973, even though
he signed a commitment to fly for the unit until
November 1974. Bush was granted an "early out"
-- not uncommon as the Vietnam War was winding
down -- to attend Harvard Business School.
Rezendes and Sacha Pfeiffer of the Globe staff
contributed to this report. © Copyright 2004 Globe
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