I was reading another thread, and Roy Batty made the “Bush went AWOL” comment. I remember several others, like lumpy, also made a big deal about this. Further, the Democrats were making a huge deal about this. The issue went away very quickly. I’ll show you why. I want to make sure that none of you make Roy’s scurrilous statement again. By the way, for those of you who called him a “deserter” and made other false allegations, you owe him an apology. Here you go: This was from USA Today.
Former Guardsman: Bush served with me in Alabama
By the Associated Press
A retired Alabama Air National Guard officer said Friday that he remembers George Bush showing up for duty in Alabama in 1972, reading safety magazines and flight manuals in an office as he performed his weekend obligations.
“I saw him each drill period,” retired Lt. Col. John “Bill” Calhoun said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Daytona Beach, Fla., where he is preparing to watch this weekend’s big NASCAR race.
“He was very aggressive about doing his duty there. He never complained about it. … He was very dedicated to what he was doing in the Guard. He showed up on time and he left at the end of the day.”
Calhoun, whose name was supplied to the AP by a Republican close to Bush, is the first member of the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group to recall Bush distinctly at the Alabama base in the period of 1972-1973. He was the unit’s flight safety officer.
The 69-year-old president of an Atlanta insulation company said Bush showed up for work at Dannelly Air National Guard Base for drills on at least six occasions. Bush and Calhoun had both been trained as fighter pilots, and Calhoun said the two would swap “war stories” and even eat lunch together on base.
Calhoun is named in 187th unit rosters obtained by the AP as serving under the deputy commander of operations plans. Bush was in Alabama on non-flying status.
“He sat in my office most of the time ? he would read,” Calhoun said. “He had your training manuals from your aircraft he was flying. He’d study those some. He’d read safety magazines, which is a common thing for pilots.”
Democrats have asked for proof that Bush, then a 1st lieutenant with the Texas Air National Guard, turned up for duty in Alabama, where Bush had asked to be assigned while he worked on the U.S. Senate campaign of family friend Winton “Red” Blount.
Pay and medical records released by the White House this week failed to quash allegations that Bush shirked his Guard responsibilities. (Related story: Bush’s driving records disclosed)
The 187th’s former commander, retired Brig. Gen. William Turnipseed, has said he doesn’t remember Bush ever turning up on base, and more than a dozen members of the 800-person unit, including its commander, told The Associated Press this week they have no recollection of Bush. Critics have made much of the fact that the White House has failed to produce anyone who could remember seeing Bush there.
Calhoun said he contacted Texas GOP leaders with his story in 2000 when the issue was raised just before the November general election.
“I got on the phone and got information and called Austin, Texas, and talked to the Republican campaign. They said I was talking to the campaign manager,” he said. “I told him my story and said I would be glad to provide information to that effect. At that time they said … The story is not true. And we don’t think it’s got enough weight to stay out as a story.’ And they said, ‘But if it does we’ll call you back.’ And I never heard from them again.”
Last week as the issue raged again, Calhoun sent an e-mail to the White House offering to tell his story. “I got a response back, one of those automatic responses,” he said. It wasn’t until his wife contacted Georgia GOP officials that Calhoun’s name surfaced.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Friday that the White House was not making any effort to try to locate people who might have served with Bush. He also accused reporters of trying to raise new lines of questioning, beyond whether Bush served in Alabama.
Critics have suggested that Bush used his family connections to get the safe Guard assignment ahead of thousands of others. But Calhoun said Bush never mentioned his congressman father while they sat together at Dannelly.
“I knew he was working in the senatorial campaign, and I asked him if he was going to be a politician,” said Calhoun, who is a staunch Republican. “And he said, ‘I don’t know. Probably.’”
Calhoun has not made any donations to Bush this election season or during the 2000 season, according to campaign finance records.
I believe his dental records were also released from that period.
Can we put another Democratic slander to bed?