The 72-73 SPE: More Info Comes to Light

Today the incomparable Bob Somersby does a critique of Bush AWOL articles. He quotes from a Jo Thomas Nov 3, 2000 New York Times Article:

[Bush aide Dan] Bartlett pointed to a document in Mr. Bush’s military records that showed credit for four days of duty ending Nov. 29 and for eight days ending Dec. 14, 1972, and, after he moved back to Houston, on dates in January, April and May…

Another document showed that Mr. Bush served at various times from May 29, 1973, through July 30, 1973, a period of time questioned by The Globe.
These two documents are almost certainly the SPEs that I've been discussing. Thomas describes four days that end on Nov. 29, and eight that end on December 14. The first two lines of the 72-73 document reveal two dates ending in 29 and 14, with four points and eight points respectively. Thomas confuses days with points earned, perhaps under the patient tutelage of Dan Bartlett. And as the 73-74 SPE shows, points earned under the TD code 2 are two a day. So we're only talking about 2 days and 4 days on these lines, not four and eight.

Also, this document doesn't record any Alabama information. There's a letter code in the upper right corner of both documents that clearly corresponds to Bush's Houston unit. There's no evidence of Alabama time on either of these documents. Perhaps this is another illumination Ms. Thomas received from Mr. Bartlett.

But as you can see, my guess on the last two months is February and May, while Thomas reports that they were April and May. Following Thomas, the amended 72-73 SPE would read as follows:
1 72 NOV 28 - 72 NOV 29 2 004 (Tue after T'giving - Wed)
2 72 DEC 10 - 72 DEC 14 2 008 (Mon - Thu)
3 73 JAN 04 - 73 JAN 06 2 006 (Thu - Sat)
4 73 JAN 08 - 73 JAN 10 2 006 (Mon - Wed)
5 73 APR 07 - 73 APR 08 2 004 (Sat - Sun)
6 73 MAY 01 - 73 MAY 03 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
7 73 MAY 08 - 73 MAY 10 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
8 73 MAY 19 - 73 MAY 20 2 004 (Sat - Sun)
9 73 MAY 22 - 73 MAY 24 1 003 (Tue - Thu)
If Thomas's month guess is correct, this makes the May 2 statement by Bush's superior officers even more astonishing. According to them, Bush had not been observed at the Houston unit from May 1972 to April 1973. Yet the 72-73 SPE has him serving on April 7-8, less than a month before the signed and dated statements of his superiors.

What gives? Perhaps this is another example of the guiding hand of Dan Bartlett. Since the month in question is completely missing from the record, guessing April would be a little more complementary to Bush. It would mean he had pulled some Guard duty right before the April 26 order to active duty training (ACDUTRA). But then why the punitive character of the active duty order? This warning about "unsatisfactory participation", signed by Bush, is clearly punitive. Is it from this time period? If not, when was this warning given to Bush? The two primary guesses would be November 1972 or April 1973. What other time period would qualify for such a warning?

Guessing April for line 5 really doesn't make sense to me. So for now, I'm sticking with February.

The question remains, however: How could Bush's attendance record include credit for serving November though February/April which completely escaped the notice of his superior officers (who I assume looked at the records before signing an annual evaluation report on Bush)? How could they have missed him?