George W. Bush Dodged His Military Responsibilities During Vietnam

While Bush claims he served in the Alabama Air National Guard from May 1972- May 1973, no one on the base—his superiors, fellow officers or other pilots—remembers seeing him fulfill his service and he cannot provide any memories or acquaintances from time on the base.

Missing from service:

  • Starting in May 1972, First Lieutenant Bush began to disappear from the Guard’s radar screen. (Boston Globe, 1-year gap in Bush’s guard duty: No record of airman at drills in 1972-73, By Walter V. Robinson, May 23, 2000.
  • There is strong evidence that Bush performed no military service, as was required, when he moved from Houston to Alabama to work on a US Senate campaign from May to November 1972. There are no records of any service and the commanding officer of the unit Bush was assigned to said he never saw him. (Boston Globe, Questions Remain on Bush’s Service as a Guard Pilot, by Walter V. Robinson, October 21, 2000)
  • For a full year, there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen. (Boston Globe, 1-year gap in Bush’s guard duty: No record of airman at drills in 1972-73, By Walter V. Robinson, May 23, 2000)
  • And William Turnipseed, the retired general who commanded the Alabama unit back then, said in an interview last week that Bush never appeared for duty there. (Boston Globe, 1-year gap in Bush’s guard duty: No record of airman at drills in 1972-73, By Walter V. Robinson, May 23, 2000)
  • Ellington Air could not perform his [Bush] annual evaluation covering the year from May 1, 1972 to April 30, 1973 because, they wrote, ‘Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of this report. (Boston Globe, 1-year gap in Bush’s guard duty: No record of airman at drills in 1972-73, By Walter V. Robinson, May 23, 2000)
  • Mr. Bush had been ordered in September 1972 to report for “equivalent training” to William R. Turnipseed, the 187th’s deputy commander of operations, but The Globe quoted Mr. Turnipseed in 2000 as saying that Mr. Bush never reported to him. (The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004)
  • The records suggest that during a five-month period of that year Bush failed to show for any Guard duty. Worse, there are no corroborating records generated in Alabama to confirm the payroll documents. If Bush was in Alabama and getting paid, as the records indicate, a paper trail originating with his unit in Montgomery should confirm the dates highlighted in those documents. No such records have come to light. (Salon.com, Bush’s service records: The score card, By Eric Boehlert, Feb. 13, 2004)
  • In July of 1972 Bush, a fully trained pilot, failed to take his required annual physical and was subsequently suspended from flying. As a rule, military pilots don’t take it upon themselves to decide when they’re going to stop flying, or whether they want to take a required annual physical. “There is no excuse for that,” retired Maj. Gen. Paul Weaver Jr. told the Boston Globe. He’s the former director of the Air National Guard. “Aviators just don’t miss their flight physicals.” By failing to take a physical and thereby losing his flying status, Bush should have been subject to a disciplinary review, copies of which would be contained in Bush’s military file. But those sorts of documents are considered private under provisions of the Privacy Act, and Bush would have to authorize their release. To date, the White House has refused to do so. Aside from the lone Alabama dental record, the White House has also refused to release Bush’s military medical records. (Salon.com, Bush’s service records: The score card, By Eric Boehlert, Feb. 13, 2004)

Officers and soldiers from the 187th Alabama Air Guard unit never saw him:

  • In interviews last week, Turnipseed and his administrative officer at the time, Kenneth K.Lott, said they had no memory of Bush ever reporting. “Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not,” Turnipseed said. “I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If I had had a lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered.” (Boston Globe, 1-year gap in Bush’s guard duty: No record of airman at drills in 1972-73, By Walter V. Robinson, May 23, 2000)
  • In 2000, a group of veterans offered a $3,500 reward for anyone who could confirm Bush’s Alabama Guard service. Of the estimated 600 to 700 Guardsmen who were in Bush’s unit, not a single person came forward. (Salon.com, Bush’s missing year, By Eric Boehlert Salon.com, February 5, 2004)
  • 16 retires officers, pilots, and senior enlisted men who served among the hundreds with the 187th in 1972 all said they simply do not recall seeing Mr. Bush at Dannelly Air Base…that is home to the 187th. (The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004)
  • “I don’t have any recollection at all…zero, none.” Said Rodger S. Garrett. The sergeant who supervised the command post at the flight operations center, the unit Mr. Bush was instructed to report to in September 1972. (The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004)
  • Nor did Joseph Chastain, a second lieutenant and supervisor in the supply squadron. “I feel quite certain I would have remembered if he had worked with me,” Mr. Chastain said. (The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004)
  • Willard G. Hill, then a sergeant and supervisor in the personnel section. “I’ve really thought about it, and I have to say I have no knowledge of him,” Mr. Hill said. (The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004)

Hiding his military records:

  • And as Bush has risen in public life over the last several years, Texas military officials have put many of his records off-limits and heavily redacted many other pages, ostensibly because of privacy rules. (Boston Globe, 1-year gap in Bush’s guard duty: No record of airman at drills in 1972-73, By Walter V. Robinson, May 23, 2000)