Cover-Up: Bush's National Guard Service and the Story that CBS Missed

Random Lengths News | October 1, 2004
For over 35 years, a pattern of favoritism, secrecy, and cover-ups have surrounded George W. Bush’s evasion of military duty during the Vietnam War. The latest example is the distracting controversy over forged memos used by CBS News of real memos that said precisely the same thing—that Bush was gaming the system, with help from friends in high places.

These findings in no way depend upon the apparently fraudulent memos from Lt. Colonel. Jerry B. Killian, used by CBS News recently—memos whose contents are apparently true, according to Killian’s secretary, Marian Carr Knox. “I know that I didn’t type them,” Knox said of the memos in a broadcast interview, “However, the information in those is correct.”

Rather than depending on those memos, the analyses of Bush’s official records illustrates a pattern of disobedience and official cover-up that is perfectly consistent with Knox’s assertion.

Bush’s problems began in late Spring on 1972, when he first tried to transfer to a non-flying unit1—a back doorway of breaking his signed service agreement2 approved by his Texas superiors3, but rejected at the federal level4. He then failed to take a mandatory flight physical and was suspended from flying5, stopped attending drills for at least six months6, and was not observed by his superior officers for a full year7. (He never took another physical again, and was, apparently, never disciplined for it.) A hurried spate of training unlawfully packed into a brief two-month period8 was then followed by his discharge from the Texas Air National Guard (TXANG) 9, but he never fulfilled his obligation to finish his service at a unit in Massachusetts when he returned to New England to get an MBA at Harvard Business School10.

Bush has unsigned pay and points records documenting training drills during part of his missing year, presumably in Alabama. However, no other documents support this evidence, which gives credit for drills outside the legally allowable time-frame11, and overstates the points earned. (November 13 and 14, 1972, and January 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 were weekdays, for which only seven points total should be credited. Bush received fourteen12.) A variety of such documents would normally exist for each of the drills. No one observed him at any of these drills. Other documents—such as his Chronological Listing of Service13 and his Military Biography14—show no record of him being stationed in Alabama. There is no document authorizing his presence in Alabama after December 1972, or for the sessions he was paid for there in October and November15. He missed the sessions he was assigned to those months16.

Bush himself has never been seriously questioned about all these contradictions, much less given a straight answer. For years, his all-purpose response has been that he served honorably, because he got an honorable discharge. But his honorable discharge was fraudulently obtained, according to analysis by Colonel Gerald Lechliter (Retired), posted on the New York Times website17, and corroborated by a similar analysis by independent researcher Paul A Lukasiak18, prominently cited by Salon magazine for his role in analyzing and decoding the significance of Bush’s military record.

While their arguments go into considerable detail, a handful of documents readily reveals major contradictions in Bush’s defense. A memo released by the White House in February 2004, written by Lt. Colonel Albert Lloyd19, is clearly in error in claiming that Bush fulfilled his obligations with 56 points in 1972-73 and 50 points in 1973-74—the bare minimum accepted. For the later year, a document in Bush’s file (released by the White House that same week)—“ARF Retirement Credit Summary,” dated January 30, 1974—clearly states that he earned only 40 points for 1973-74, ten points short20. That alone is enough to discredit his honorable discharge.

In his analysis, Lechliter concludes that, “The pay records released by the White House this past winter prove Bush received unauthorized, i.e., fraudulent, payments for inactive duty training, even if he did show up for duty.” 21

Lukasiak adds that the documents “also reveal that Bush’s personnel files were tampered with to disguise what had occurred.” 22

Both men examined Bush’s records in light of military regulations in force at the time. Both reached similar conclusions—that Bush failed to make up for a substantial number of missed drills, but received fraudulent credit on the way to getting out of his duty. Lechliter explicitly confirms earlier research from 2000 by Martin Heldt—a self-educated researcher whose pioneering work was occasionally referenced by the corporate media, but generally ignored—and by the Boston Globe23.

Surprisingly, Bush’s records were never carefully examined following a massive document dump on February 13, 2004. Lloyd’s memo, issued the same week, stated that he had examined the documents, and that “the record clearly shows that 1LT. George W. Bush has satisfactory years for both 72-73 and 73-74 which proves that he completed his military obligation in a satisfactory manner.” 24

But Lukasiak points out, “Unbeknownst to the press, however, Lloyd had been personally involved in ensuring that Bush received F-102 pilot training, despite Bush’s abysmal pilot aptitude test scores.” 25

Not only was Lloyd biased toward Bush over a period of 30 plus years, he was flat-out wrong on two additional counts, beyond overlooking the Retirement Credit Summary. First, he failed to examine whether the points even could have been properly earned. A decisive number could not. They violated policy on several different grounds, and could not have reflected actual, credited service. 26

Second, As Lechliter explains, “Lloyd’s most serious error obliterates the distinction between a satisfactory RR [retention/retirement] year and ‘satisfactory participation’ as a condition of service.” 27

The RR year begins when an individual’s service begins, and is of primary concern for career officers. A minimum of 50 points is required, which can include up to 15 gratuitous points in addition to points for specific drills. But points for “‘satisfactory participation’ as a condition of service” are calculated by fiscal year, and typically require more than the RR minimum. 28

Bush needed 59 points, divided into two categories: Annual Active Duty for Training (“ANACDUTRA”) and Inactive Duty for Training (“INACDUTRA”)[sou], which in turn fell into two categories—individual and group training (known as “UTA”). 29

Lechliter continues, “Even a cursory review of his attendance at ANACDUTRA and INACDUTRA for the FY July 1,1972, through June 30, 1973, results in an unequivocal ‘no’ for that fiscal year.” 30

Even if all Bush’s points were legitimate, “he earned 15 ANACDUTRA points to satisfy this requirement, but only 36 INACDUTRA points, woefully short of the minimum 44 INACDUTRA points he was required to earn,” Lechliter reports. 31

Bush earned even fewer points the following fiscal year—just 25 total ANACDUTRA and INACDUTRA points32—compounded by the fact that he failed to report for duty in Massachusetts when he relocated there to attend Harvard Business School, despite signing a statement saying he would do so. The White House has never disputed this.

Bush clearly failed to meet the minimum service record requirements, and thus he did not earn his honorable discharge. But a closer look shows that he didn’t even meet the RR requirements—primarily because he was credited with make-up drills that were not timely.

Missed group training could only be made up with strict guidelines— “within 15 days immediately before or 30 days immediately after the regularly scheduled UTA but before the next month’s first scheduled UTA (whichever is earlier) and within the same fiscal year” 33—and with the approval of a commanding officer on a specific form34.

However, Lechliter notes, “In November 1972 and January 1972, supposedly while in Alabama, Bush was given credit and paid for 12 UTA periods (six days) that were outside this time envelope; in July 1973, while in his TXANG unit, Bush was given credit and paid for eight UTA periods (four days) that were outside the time limitation. Moreover, there is no evidence whatsoever that the absences were authorized: no requests and no approvals.” 35

Even more damningly, Lechliter continues, “These payments also explain why Bush requested a discharge on October 1, 1973, instead of any earlier date, although his counseling statement is dated July 30, 1973. Finance certainly would not have paid him for INACDUTRA after he was discharged. It clearly and convincingly demonstrates intent to defraud the government both on Bush’s part and those in the TXANG who approved the payments.”36

Removing the irregular drills from Bush’s record reduces even his RR credits to 44 for 72-73, and 42 for 73-74—well below the 50 point minimum for both years.

Although this proves that Bush did not earn his honorable discharge, it only begins to scratch the surface of what’s wrong with Bush’s records.

For starters, Lloyd gave Bush 15 gratuitous points for 73-74, but because he served far less than the whole year he was only entitled to 5, as reflected on the ARF Retirement Credit Summary, mentioned above37. Another 12 points Bush received in 72-73 were for drills which lacked prior written authorization. Thus, according to Bush’s existing records, he legally earned only 32 points for both his last two RR years—less than 2/3rdsof what was required38.

But the problem isn’t just a lack of proper points; it’s various indications that strings were being pulled to keep Bush out of trouble. There are at best only the barest records supporting the claims that Bush performed most of these drills.

On Sept. 15, 1972, he was ordered to report to Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, deputy commander of the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery, Ala., for training on the weekends of Oct. 7-8 and Nov. 4-5, 197239.

But aside from the questionable pay records, there’s no evidence he ever showed up in Alabama. In 2000, Turnipseed told the Boston Globe he never saw Bush.

“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 we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered.''40

Nor did anyone else see him in at the 187th, except for one would-be witness, John Calhoun, who claims to have seen him numerous times, beginning well before Bush was assigned there. 41

Rewards have been posted for anyone who can corroborate Bush’s presence with the 187th. They were first offered in 2000. The most recent offer $50,000 from Texans For Truth, was good through September 30, 2004. So far, no one has claimed a penny.

Despite a sprinkling of print media coverage, the corporate broadcast media remains utterly ignorant of how devastating Bush’s actual military records are. Instead, they are locked into a feeding frenzy focused on CBS’s embarrassment of relying on the wrong documents. But that doesn’t mean that Bush’s evasion of duty didn’t happen. One outlet that has begun to cover the story is the Air Force Times, available on the web. How far their coverage goes could have enormous influence in the weeks ahead. Depending on who is the next commander in chief, they might even get to the very bottom of the story.

Footnotes are available on our website at www.randomlengthsnews/bush-guard/index.html. The three primary sources relied upon are Lechliter’s memo at in PDF and in HTML at, Paul A Lukasiak’s research at, and documents from Bush’s military file available in PDF at, the most salient of which are available in gif or jpeg form at www.randomlengthsnews/bush-guard/docs/.

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