- Newly unearthed memos state George W. Bush was
suspended from flying for the Texas Air National
Guard during the Vietnam war because he failed
to meet Guard standards and failed to take his
annual flight physical as required.
suspension came as Bush was trying to arrange
a transfer to non-flying status with a unit in
Alabama so he could work on a political campaign
memo written a year later referred to one military
official "pushing to sugar coat" Bush's evaluation.
this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended
from flight status due to failure to perform to
USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual
physical examination ... as ordered," says an
Aug. 1, 1972 memo by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who
is now dead.
same memo notes that Bush was trying to transfer
to non-flying status out of state and recommends
that the Texas unit fill his flying slot "with
a more seasoned pilot from the list of qualified
Vietnam pilots that have rotated."
Vietnam-era documents add details to the bare-bones
explanation of Bush's aides over the years that
he was suspended simply because he decided to
skip his flight physical.
White House said in February that it had released
all records of Bush's service, but one of Killian's
memos stated it was "for record" and another directing
Bush to take the physical exam stated that it
was "for 1st Lt. George W. Bush."
can't explain why that wouldn't be in his record,
but they were found in Jerry Killian's personal
records," White House communications director
Dan Bartlett told CBS's "60 Minutes II," which
first obtained the memos.
said Bush's superiors granted permission to train
in Alabama in a non-flying status and that "many
of the documents you have here affirm just that."
memo dated May 19, 1972, five days after Bush
was supposed to have completed his physical, summarizes
a telephone discussion with Bush about how he
"can get out of coming to drill from now through
November." It says Bush was "told he could do
ET for three months or transfer." ET referred
to equivalent training, a procedure for meeting
training requirements without attending regularly
same memo says "we talked abut him getting his
flight physical situation fixed" and quotes Bush
as saying he would "do that in Alabama if he stays
in a flight status." It also says, I advised him
of our investment in him and his commitment."
Party chairman Terry McAuliffe said, "George W.
Bush's cover story on his National Guard service
is rapidly unraveling. ... George W. Bush needs
to answer why he regularly mislead the American
people about his time in the Guard and who applied
political pressure on his behalf to have his performance
told CBS, "As it says in your own documents, President
Bush talked to the commanders about the fact that
he'd be transferring to a unit ... in Alabama
that didn't fly that plane," the F-102, the type
Bush was trained in.
only last names, one of the newly disclosed documents
points to sharp disagreement among Bush's superiors
in Texas over how to evaluate his performance
for the period from mid-1972 through mid-1973.
has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush,"
Killian wrote on Aug. 18, 1973. "I'm having trouble
running interference and doing my job ‹ Harris
gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's
OETR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush
wasn't here during rating period and I don't have
any comments from 187th in Alabama. I will not
rate." Grp refers to a military unit and OETR
stands for officer efficiency training report.
memo concludes: "Harris took the call from Grp
today. I'll backdate but won't rate. Harris agrees."
the time, Walter B. Staudt was commander of the
Texas National Guard; Lt. Col. Bobby Hodges was
one of Bush's superiors in Texas who two years
earlier had rated Bush an outstanding young pilot;
and Lt. Col. William D. Harris Jr. was another
superior of Bush's.
released this year when Bush's military service
re-emerged as a campaign issue contain no evidence
that he showed up for duty at all for five months
in mid-1972 and document only a few occasions
later that year.
about Killian's statement in a memo about the
military's investment in Bush, Bartlett told CBS:
"For anybody to try to interpret or presume they
know what somebody who is now dead was thinking
in any of these memos, I think is very difficult
15th-16th grafs, "Staudt has ... xxx to correct
spellings of last names in documents to Staudt,
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