MILITARY READINESS: In his autobiography, A Charge to Keep, Bush claims that after flight training school in 1970, he "continued flying with [his] unit for the next several years." This is not true. In May 1972, Bush moved to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign, and he never flew again. In fact, in August 1972 the Texas Guard took Bush off active flight status for good because he skipped his annual medical exam.
In Alabama and no longer a pilot, Bush was required to perform equivalent Guard duty, and he was ordered to report to Lieutenant Colonel William Turnipseed, who told reporters this year that he has no recollection of Bush ever showing up. Turnipseed's administrative officer at the time has also said he doesn't remember Bush serving in Alabama. Turnipseed told THE NEW REPUBLIC that he recently talked to the then-squadron operations officer of the Alabama Guard and that he, too, had no recollection of having seen Bush. Furthermore, a spokesman for the Alabama National Guard estimates there were 600 to 700 members in the unit Bush was supposed to have served with in 1972. But none of these men has ever come forward to say he remembers Bush, and Bush has not named a single one of them.
Bush himself swears he reported for duty in Alabama but admitted in June, "I can't remember what I did."
There is also no record of Bush ever having served in Alabama, a rather damning fact considering the Guard's obsessive attention to record-keeping in that era. In fact, there is no record of Bush serving anywhere for an entire year, from May 1972 to May 1973-despite having promised he would.
Part Two of the Story...
Excerpt published under the Fair Use doctrine...we encourage you to go out and buy the Oct. 16 issue of the New Republic yourself!