George W. Bush Military Record and Misrepresentations Pertaining
to Military Records
In these days of guys who never fought in Vietnam launching
aggressive and destabilizing attacks on other countries, it is
interesting to see what George W. Bush did in the military, how
he misrepresented it, and what's been done recently to make sure
no one notices. Mr. Bush, whose permission to fly was revoked
by the military (he was suspended, assigned to a disciplinary
unit and not allowed to fly military assignments again) liked
to portray himself to voters as a fighter pilot. But his embellishments
didnt stop there:
George W. Bush "military pilot" photo op
Date: 05/01/2003 George W. Bush portrays himself
as a military pilot
To announce his triumph in Iraq, George W. Bush flew
to an aircraft carrier wearing military pilot gear,
removed his helmet and had his hair groomed, then posed
for photo ops.
Presidential calibre military men
Presidential Candidate 2003
Elected president 2000
Date: 08/19/88 Houston Chronicle article by R. G. Ratliffe
When running for governor, George W. Bush portrayed himself
to voters as a great fighter pilot. "Asked how he got into the
Air National Guard, Bush said, They could sense I was going
to be one of the great pilots of all time.
Date: 1999 autobiography A Charge to Keep by George
Among the questionable claims in Mr. Bush's autobiography is
that he tried to volunteer for service in Vietnam "to relieve
active-duty pilots." He did not volunteer for service in Vietnam;
in fact, he failed to report for duty in his Air National Guard
Unit and skipped off to Alabama to work on a political campaign.
In his book, Mr. Bush offers a lovely-sounding (but bald-faced)
lie to describe his F-102 fighter pilot experience: "I continued
flying with my unit for the next several years," he writes, but
in fact he was suspended from flight duty in August 1972 and
didn't fly at all for the last two years of his service. (He
also didn't show up for duty.)
Further along in his autobiography, Mr. Bush says his military
service "gave me respect for the chain of command." Well, that
is an odd way to describe ignoring two direct orders to appear
for duty. He was then assigned to a disciplinary unit in Denver,
and he didn't show up for that either.
Here you will find photocopies of Bush military documents. Other
unusual records have been uncovered; the Washington Post wrote
of obtaining the supposed military record for the younger George
Bush, but noted that the last name was torn off, with only the "W" proclaiming
that it was the record belonging to George W. Bush (or was that
Mortimer W. Snerd?)
George W. Bush, in pilot suit,
poses with Commander
John "Skip" Lussier
on the carrier
USS Abraham Lincoln.
distinguishes the New Right from
other American reactionary movements
and what it shares with the early phase
of German fascism, is its incorporation of
conservative impulses into a system of representation
consisting largely of media techniques and media images.
Philip Bishop: "The New Right and the Media"
In fact, George W. Bush evaded military duties during wartime,
while thousands of Americans more patriotic and less privileged
than George W. Bush were dying in Vietnam.
Senator Daniel Inouye: "'During my service, if
I missed training for two years, at the least, I would
have been court-martialed.' Senator Inouye (Hawaii) has
demanded that George W. Bush account for missing two
years of National Guard Service. (see transcript).
Senator Bob Kerrey
Senator Bob Kerrey: Governor Bush made a six-year
commitment...Well, if he's going to do what's right,
he ought to release his military records, as John McCain
did and let us know where he was during that six year
period of time..." (see transcript)
News Release: Help George W. Bush find 1972, 1973
George Bush has lost a year of his youth and needs your help
to find it. Between May 1972 and October 1974 George W. Bush
seems to have lost:
1) A year of his service in the Air National Guard (ANG)
2) His eligibility to fly F-102 jet fighters (See photocopy,
3) The directions to his military doctor's office
4) The means to travel to his punishment detail (2) to which he apparently
never reported, although he claims to have served the final months
of his enlistment there.
Lots of people didn't see George Bush, including retired General
William Turnipseed (3) to whom young 1st
Lt. Bush was ordered to report, and the commanders of the Texas
Air National Guard Unit (4) in which he was supposedly
serving. You can imagine how disturbing this must be to our unelected
Commander-in-Chief to have so thoroughly lost a year of his
own military service (5) when he plans to
ask young Americans to stick to the terms of their military enlistments
so he can send them to Iraq.
In October, 2000 two different Vietnam veterans groups put up
a total of $2000 in rewards for anyone who could find George
W. Bush's missing year of National Guard service. (6) So far no one has
claimed the reward.
But this was a long time ago. Any recent misbehavior?
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mr. Bush leaned
on his self-described experience as a fighter pilot to get himself
elected governor of Texas. See archives for Austin Statesman and Houston
Chronicle to read his embellishments about his service as
a fighter pilot.
In 1999, just prior to Mr. Bush's announcement that
he planned to run for president, a record-scrubbing detail was
dispatched to Camp Mabry to make sure records in the archives
matched those in the autobiography published in 1999. ([synopsis: record scrubbing]
In 1999, during his presidential campaign,
Mr. Bush produced an autobiography (7) containing
several untruths about his military service. He bragged
about volunteering to go to Vietnam (not true), tried
to impress voters saying he was a fighter pilot and "continued
to fly for several years" after training (not true),
and asserted that his military training taught him to
respect the chain of command.
In 2000, reporters unearthed the facts
and published them in the Washington Post, Boston
Globe, AP wire service and other print media
outlets to howls from Bush's people that it was
unfair and "unethical" to reveal facts just before
the election. No television news programs covered
the story until nearly a year after the election.
In May 2003, George Bush showed up wearing
a military pilot suit, for photo ops with real
military pilots. Talking points distributed by
Bush PR people encouraged national TV news to highlight
his experience as a military pilot, without mentioning
that Bush never flew a military mission and was
absent without leave for many months.
Dodged the draft. But he didn't don a military uniform and
send talking points to the press encouraging them talk
about his prowess as a former military pilot.
Clinton never referred to himself, during campaigns,
as "one of the best fighter pilots of all time."
Clinton dodged. Bush was suspended.
It's frustrating: At least when you're looking for Waldo, you
know he'll be somewhere in the picture. George Bush didn't seem
to have been anywhere during his military years, but he seemed
to be everywhere when photocopies of his military record appeared
around election time. And in war time, he's in front of the camera,
wearing a pilot suit.
James Earl Carter spent more time on active
military duty (7 years) than any other president in
the last 103 years - with the exception of Gen. Dwight
Scrubbing the Records
"As the State Plans Officer for the Texas National Guard, I
was on full-time duty at Camp Mabry when Dan Bartlett was cleansing
the George W Bush file prior to GW's Presidential announcement.
For most soldiers at Camp Mabry, this was a generally known event.
The archives were closely scrutinized to make sure that the Bush
autobiography plans and the record did not directly contradict
each other. In essence it was the script of the autobiography
which Dan Bartlett and his small team used to scrub a file to
be released. This effort was further involved by General Daniel
James and Chief of Staff William W. Goodwin at Camp Mabry.
Bill Burkett contact: (915-673-0429)
[Transcript of Bill
Senator John Glenn Who showed up for duty.
The facts about George W. Bush military record:
1) On September 29, 1972 Air National Guard orders "suspending 1st
Lt. George W. Bush from flying status are confirmed...Reason
for Suspension: Failure to accomplish annual medical exam." (10)
2) Bush's initial temporary transfer to Alabama was denied because "An
obligated Reservist can be assigned to a specific Ready Reserve
position only. (11) Therefore, he is
ineligible for assignment to an Air Reserve Squadron". Nonetheless,
Bush reapplied, was accepted by the commander of the mail unit
in Alabama, and moved to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign,
instead of completing his military duties. He claims no one exerted
3) According to a Boston Globe Story on May 23, 2000. "In his
final 18 months of military service in 1972 and 1973, Bush did
not fly at all. And for much of that time, Bush was all but unaccounted
for (12) For a full year,
there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills
required of part-time guardsmen...From May to November 1972,
Bush was in Alabama working in a US Senate campaign, and was
required to attend drills at an Air National Guard unit in Montgomery.
But there is no evidence in his record that he did so. 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."
4) The tattered piece of attendance record (which lists no months,
years, or last name) which the Bush campaign presented as evidence
of attending Air National Guard training is not even from the
Air National Guard. This incomplete scrap of paper is from the
Air Force Reserve punishment unit, not the Air National Guard.
the ARF (Air Reserve Force) listing at the top, rather than the
ANG designator, which would indicate it was from the Air National
5) In the fall of 1973, as an automatic disciplinary action,
Bush was reassigned to the Obligated Reserve Section in Denver,
because he disobeyed orders to show up for a mandatory flight
physical and therefore was unable to fulfill the last two years
of his six-year obligation as an Air National Guard jet fighter
Boston Globe 11/5/2000 "APPARENTLY, BUSH BELIEVES THE
RULES DON'T APPLY TO HIM" By Thomas Oliphant:
WASHINGTON IMAGINE YOU WANTED to be George W. Bush's running
mate back in July One of the very first questions on the disclosure
form presidential campaigns supply is always a simple, "Have
you ever been arrested?" And another demands from those with
military records the places and dates of every chunk of that
service. In fact, an accounting for every month of your life
(as with any job carrying a Top Secret clearance) would be required.
you tell Bush that you and your advisers had made a conscious
decision to withhold the fact of a drunken-driving conviction
when you were 30 from the public. You say you had only acknowledged
a heavy drinking problem in the past, and that while continuing
to booze for a decade after the arrest you had quit completely
14 years ago. You add that you had decided to dodge all details
because you didn't want your twins to do what you did.
Now imagine further...the relentless Bush lawyers had picked
apart your military record (in the National Guard) like crows
on road kill, exposing white lies and big gaps like whether you
did a lick of anything for the last year-and-a-half of your obligation.
As for the untruths and gaps in your National Guard record and
even your resume and autobiography, you tell Bush that you've
said all you're going to say before the election on this subject,
that the records and your memory are hazy, but that you're certain
your obligation had been fulfilled properly."
Sunday Times London (11/05/2000): "The Bush camp was equally
dismissive of a claim by Bill Burkett, a former lieutenant colonel
in the Texas National Guard, that the governor's aides had doctored
his military record.
Burkett said Bush aides had visited the National Guard headquarters
at Camp Mabry 'on numerous occasions' to make sure that records
available to the public about his military service would tally
with his autobiography's version of his time as a reserve pilot
during the Vietnam war."
Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, the first woman to
achieve flag rank in the US Army. She never went AWOL.
Air National Guard Commanding Officer Alleges Bush Military
SUBJ: Military Records of George W. Bush Clarification Bill
L. Burkett LTC (ret)
Within the morning press reports in the London Sunday Times and
other publications, I am stated to have alleged that the staff
of George W. Bush doctored [the key term] the military files
of George W. Bush in whatever attempt to cover his military record.
Let me answer questions about my responses within a chronological
Was this politically motivated and coordinated with the Gore
No. Not whatsoever. In no way did any member of the Gore Campaign
or any election official, Republican or Democrat know my comments.
My observations were responses to questions of how the file was
developed; disseminated under the Freedom of information Act
(FOIA) and what was missing within the files which would resolve
the question of satisfactory participation. These were my personal
responses to the asked questions that were not sanctioned by
anyone, nor shared with anyone. They were made on the basis of
my 28 year career, my working experience within the senior staff
at the Texas National Guard headquarters and my knowledge of
the operational procedures of the US military including the subject
of personnel files of retired or discharged soldiers and airmen.
Why, do you believe, you were contacted?
Question 3 will background how this occurred which should be
self-explanatory. The context of the DUI story indicated the
mishandling or failure to fully disclose a past criminal record
of Governor Bush. I believe that the military record and the
irregularities that point to a possible extended period of nonperformance
and early release may have also indicated a pattern of lack of
full disclosure by the Governor and his campaign. This issue
of military records had been highly visible on at least two previous
occasions within the campaign, however, Senator Kerrey as an
honored and decorated SEAL most recently focused on this issue
within the last ten days I would guess that within the eleventh
hour and following the revelation of the DUI story, the media
and voters were waiting for the next shoe to drop. This issue
may have been viewed as the next shoe.
In June of 1998 and with the full and personal knowledge of Dan
Bartlett and the Governor, I reported problems of force structure,
readiness operational efficiency personnel and procedures within
the Texas National Guard. At that time, and periodically thereafter,
I have been in contact with various [audio, video and print]news
writers and publishers. In 1998, I provided sufficient detailed
information including documentation of severe irregularities
within the Governors own chain of command in an effort to correct
those deficiencies which I believe undermined the Texas National
Guard and in some cases broke the law.
How did your reference in this story develop?
I contacted a website that outlined the Governor's personal military
career irregularities and suggested that there were two official
documents that would resolve the issue of satisfactory and honorable
service. Suddenly on Friday afternoon, my telephone became barraged
with media calls and messages including those who had known of
my previous whistleblowing but had failed report it. I explained
my background and personal observations to each of them in minute
detail, often repeating the entire process for clarity. I was
extremely careful not to point an accusing finger, but rather
shape a question which could resolve this allegation of integrity
that had clouded the Bush campaign since June of 1999 the issue
of his personal military service.
Did you allege that the governor's staff doctored the records?
No, instead I stated that the way this had been handled by the
Bush staff including knowledgeable military officials at the
Texas national guard, that it left the implication that the Bush
staff had first incompetently provided an incomplete military
file for the Governor which was consistent with his autobiography.
I further observed that they probably did not anticipate that
the file would be scrutinized to the level that it was. Whenever
someone determined holes is service big enough to drive a Mack
truck through additional information [all of which was unofficial
and some in pencil notations] were then submitted to the press
to answer questions. I further observed this "Trust me, I'm the
Governor" approach had worked throughout Texas for George W.
Bush within his tenure and the media had give the Governor a
free pass without the same scrutiny as the Vice President until
the eleventh hour revelation of the DUI. But this still left
the basic question Why didn't Governor Bush simply release
his military pay files and retirement points accounting records,
which are the only OFFICIAL records that will show that he satisfactorily
and honorably completed his service commitment?
Were there other issues that you discussed?
Yes. In each call, I, in essence scolded media representatives
for not doing their homework and reviewing this information before
the eleventh hour. When asked if I would go on record, I said,
yes, I have nothing to hide even though I knew that the mention
of my name with the Bush campaign would immediately strike a
personal response because of my whistleblowing in 1998.
Again, was this a Democratic ploy as stated by Karen Hughes
of the Bush staff?
No. Absolutely not.
Karen Hughes has again skirted the real issue and question. Dan
Bartlett and the Governor have also refused to answer the basic
question and furnish the OFFICIAL files that will resolve this
issue. I am in no way linked to the Democratic Party. I am simply
an energized citizen and retired soldier who would like to have
the issues of each possible commander-in-chief resolved prior
to the election, in order that we can escape holding another
American Presidency hostage to actions and allegations by the
opposing party in Congress. We have suffered from this partisanship
for the past eight years. George W. Bush says that he is the
only candidate who can bridge this impasse. This is his opportunity
to start that process. This is what I believe other Americans
share with me a sincere belief that they have the right and
capacity to make educated decisions; but that candidates have
the responsibility for full and complete disclosure.
If you would like to speak with me personally on the record I
can be reached at (915) 673-0429 in Abilene, Texas.
Please call in order to verify my signature.
Bill L. Burkett
Senator Max Cleland When he showed up for
duty he lost three limbs.
Go to http://www.cis.net/~coldfeet/document.htm to
view Bush military documents released under the Freedom of Information
Act which show the conflicting information that produced requests
to release his private military records. Voluntary release of
personal military records for the period of his enlistment from
1968 through 1974 will provide information to assess the following
1. A September 29, 1972 Air National Guard confirming orders suspending 1st Lt. George
W. Bush from flying status are confirmed...Reason for Suspension:
Failure to accomplish annual medical exam.
2. Bushs initial temporary transfer to Alabama was denied because An
obligated Reservist can be assigned to a specific Ready Reserve
position only. Therefore, he is ineligible for assignment to
an Air Reserve Squadron". Nonetheless, Bush reapplied, was accepted
by the commander of the mail unit in Alabama, and moved to Alabama
where, instead of fulfilling his military duties, he worked on
a Senate campaign. http://www.cis.net/~coldfeet/doc5.gif
3. According to a Boston
Globe Story on May 23, 2000: In his final 18 months of military
service in 1972 and 1973, Bush did not fly at all. And for much
of that time, Bush was all but unaccounted for: For a full year,
there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills
required of part-time guardsmen.
Bush, who declined to be interviewed on the issue, said through
a spokesman that he has ''some recollection'' of attending drills
that year, but maybe not consistently.
From May to November 1972, Bush was in Alabama working in a US
Senate campaign, and was required to attend drills at an Air
National Guard unit in Montgomery. But there is no evidence in
his record that he did so. 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.
4. In Fall 1973, as an automatic disciplinary action, Bush was
reassigned to the Obligated Reserve Section in Denver, because
he disobeyed orders to show up for a mandatory flight physical
and therefore was unable to fulfill the last two years of his
six-year obligation as an Air National Guard jet fighter pilot.
View Document photocopies:
First: Document about George W. Bush,
redacted for "administrative reasons"
Second: Document: Agreement signed
by George W. Bush to accept military flying assignments after
training (reneged on after disobeying orders)
Third: Document: Order to suspend
George Bush from flying for failing to obey an order
Evidence that George W. Bush was allowed to substitute civilian
duties (working on a senate campaign) for flying duties following
his refusal to take physical and drug test
Fifth: Document: Statement specifying
disciplinary measures, signed by George W. Bush
Assignment of George W. Bush to disciplinary unit in Denver
1 George W. Bush suspended by military order.
2 Enlistment papers specifying
punishments for not fulfilling Air National Guard obligations
Globe Article Oct 31 2000
4 Two Texas Commanders statements:
they never saw him during the 5/72-5/73 period. He was assigned,
perhaps through political influence, to a civilian unit (during
the war; his civilian duties consisted of helping with a political
campaign) after disobeying an order.
5 May 2000 Boston
Globe article One Year Gap In Bush's Guard Duty
6 Vets Want Proof of Bush Service, Birmingham News October 2000
[article has been archived or removed from web]
7 New York Observer: George W.'s Troubling
Flights of Fancy
8 Bush's Service Record, go to archives for Oct.
24, 2000 in the Arizona Daily Star
9 Lots more document photocopies: To look at 30
pages of Bush's FOIA records go here
10 Order suspending Bush from flying.
11 Order Bush
was not eligible for transfer, tried again, perhaps with
political influence, and left for civilian duties before his
term was completed.
Boston Globe article Oct 30 2000
13 Purported proof of Bush's
military service for 1972-73. Document is nearly blank and
does not identify who it belongs to. Note that most of the dates
and Bush's name (except for the "W") have been torn off.
Other sites with information, some more partisan than others...
Post article, Nov 3, 2000
The Bush campaign points to a torn piece of paper in his Guard
records, a statement of points Bush apparently earned in 1972-73,
although most of the dates and Bush's name except for the "W" have
been torn off..." The article goes on to say that the torn sheet
of paper is shown as evidence by the Bush people that he satisfied
his requirements, but that is contradicted by a written report
signed by two superiors.
Martin Heldt's Home Page on Bush's Missing Years
Martin Heldt's Chronology
Veterans that have requested proof of Governor Bushs service
during the years of 1972 to 1973 include the Alabama Vietnam
Veterans and Viet Vets for the Real Truth, and Senators Inouye and Kerrey.
In addition the Arizona Daily Star, TomPaine.com and The New York Observer
have questioned whether Bush actually served his required time
during the last half of 1972 and into late May 1973.
More Background: George W. Bush served five years of his six-year
Air National Guard obligation between 1968 and 1973. However,
1972-1973 records were redacted "for administrative reasons" and
have not been released. After undergoing two years of expensive
jet fighter training at taxpayer expense, in April 1972, during
the Viet Nam War, George Bush simply quit flying. He did not
show up to take his required annual flight physical, and the
penalty he received was automatic suspension of his right to
fly and a final 15 months of disciplinary action, for which he
was demoted to the Obligated Reserve Section in Denver.
Connecting the dots:
In April 1972, random drug testing was implemented in the military.
Bush has previously stated that he had not used drugs since
Official verbal answer from Bush campaign: Governor Bush decided
to not fly any longer so he did not take the required military
flight physical. However, as anyone in the military knows, one
does not simply decide to give up a military assignment.
What difference does it make? Depending on the nature of whats
in those records, significant problems could result if certain
kinds of information surface, including congressional investigations
of misconduct or influence peddling, or problems enforcing disciplinary
measures with soldiers who commit infractions that may surface
in the records. But maybe there is nothing there. The only way
to find out is for Governor Bush to voluntarily authorize the
release of his private military records.
What kind of records and procedures can be released? Under ordinary
military circumstances, the suspension of a pilot is directed
through a military board of inquiry. In Bushs case, if such
a body was convened, the records of its findings are not in the
public record. However, Governor Bushs private records, which
include disciplinary actions and other relevant commentary, would
provide clear answers to the persistent questions.
George McGovern Another hero, George McGovern
(under prop hub), did not shirk his military service.