Tuesday, September 07, 2004

And Still More On Bush's National Guard...um...Service

The Associated Press filed suit and under that darned Freedom Of Information Act was granted more files that confirm he did not report when he said he did:

The records show Bush, a lieutenant in the Texas Air National Guard, was ranked No. 22 in a class of 53 pilots when he finished his flight training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in 1969.

Over the next three years, he logged 326.4 hours as a pilot and an additional 9.9 hours as a co-pilot, mostly in his the F-102a jet used to intercept enemy aircraft.
The records show his last flight came on April 1972, which is consistent with his pay records that show Bush had a large lapse of duty between April and October of that year, a time he says he went to Alabama to work on an unsuccessful Republican Senate campaign. Bush skipped a required medical exam that cost his pilot's status in August 1972.

A six-month historical record of his 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, also turned over to the AP on Tuesday, shows some of the training Bush missed with his colleagues during that time. Significantly, it showed the unit joined a "24-hour active alert mission to safeguard against surprise attack" in the southern United State beginning on Oct. 6, 1972, a time when Bush did not report for duty, according to his pay records.

Bush's lone service in October came at another air base an Alabama, where he sought temporary permission to train away from his assigned squadron. As part of the mission, the 147th kept two F-102a jets — the same Bush flew before he lost his flight status for skipping a required medical exam — on ready alert to be launched within five minutes warning.

Does this rise to the level of desertion or AWOL (click on each for technical definitions)? Not sure. This is a question that it is looking more and more likely will be debated in the coming months.


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