Bush Absent From Guard Duty Six Months, Eleven Days

Calpundit spliced these two records together. The black section shows Bush's service dates in the first two quarters of 1972. The second shows Bush's service dates in the last two. Bush has a gap in attendance from April 17 until October 28. That's 6 months and 11 days that Bush was absent from the Guard.

It's not as bad as it looks, however. It appears that if a Guardsman earned 9 points per quarter, the 15 gratuitious points would have put him over the 50 mark necessary to maintain Guardsman status. I don't know what most of the pay codes mean on the sheet, but I can guess two of them. 22 would be the code for pulling two drills in one day, granting two points (this is what happened in October and November). We also know that Bush was ordered to attend ACtive DUty TRAining (ACDUTRA) in May, June, and July of 1973. The pay records for those dates show the code 50, and Bush was given only one point a day for that code.

In the second quarter of 1972, Bush has two 22s and 3 50s. That would be 4 inactive duty points and 3 active duty points, for a total of seven. There are two more codes marked in this quarter, both 30s. Even if a 30 code gave you only one point, that would total nine - enough for the quarter. So as of the second quarter (April-June 1972), Bush is good to go.

And go he went. The day George Wallace was shot in Maryland, Bush cleared base to head to Alabama. He signed his first request for an AL transfer on May 24, when he was already there (his work for Blount is on the paperwork). The application is to the Montgomery unit that he wants to attend, so it's likely that Bush walked into the 9921 himself and filled out the paperwork then and there. Two days later, Lt. Col Bricken of the 9921 approves Bush's transfer, and sends the paperwork along to Denver.

Denver denies the transfer. Bush has a Military Obligation that requires him to fulfill a specific Ready Reservist postition only. This obligation must be his flight requirements. It's the only way Lt. Bush stood out. The denial of transfer was mailed to Texas, but a copy of the paperwork was mailed to Lt. Bush in Alabama via the 9921. So Bush must have known about this transfer.

But there was time to take care of it all. The denial was done in late May, and Bush was good until the end of June. So he spent his time working at the Blount campaign, which was a total lost cause.

This brings us to the third quarter of 1972. This is the quarter of the most serious lapse we can document. Bush does nothing in this quarter. He's scheduled for an annual physical in August. He misses it. He's suspended from flying status - he now can't fulfill his obligation. But on September 5, he submits a second request for substitute drillwork in Alabama. It's pretty late in the quarter, and by the time the paperwork works its way through, Bush is told that he's already missed the September drills. He's told to report to Col. Turnipseed in Alabama, and informed of the early October and November dates that he can still attend.

This letter is from Captain Kenneth Lott of the 187th. It seems to me that this document holds the same weight as Lt. Col. Bricken's approval of Bush's transfer - it would be subject to the approval of the Denver HQ. The Alabama approval warns that Bush can't fulfill his flight obligation with the 187th either. So this is not final approval of equivalent training in Alabama - it's Alabama saying that equivalent training is okay by them.

Bush never reports to Col. Turnipseed. He doesn't make up any missed time for the third quarter of 1972. He doesn't show up for the UTAs in Alabama. Something's screwy with the records here, and I'd guess it has something to do with that missed physical.

Question: What is contained in "para 2-10, AFM 35-13"? When he was suspended from flight status, he was to comply with paragraph 2-10 of the AFM 35-13. Does anybody know what that means?

He's got 4 points in late October, and 8 points right after Election day in November. Where this service happens, we don't know yet, but it's enough for the last quarter of 1972 (Oct-Dec).

So the only questionable time period is the third quarter 1972, the quarter in which Bush skipped his flight physical and didn't show up in Alabama. If you can compare Guard service to juggling, George Bush managed to keep the balls in the air for the last two years of his obligation, except during the third quarter of 1972. If anything's been cleaned up from Bush's record, that's the time period that was scrubbed.

Yes, the 6 month, 11 day gap in Bush's service looks bad on the face of it, but when compared to the Guard's system of quarterly accountability, the true problem in Bush's record is put into focus. What happened during Bush's 1972 third quarter? Why did he miss a physical, and was he ever actually approved to train in Alabama?