Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 12, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

THE PLOT THICKENS....George Bush's story about his National Guard service in Alabama during 1972 is that he missed a lot of drills but later made them up. And both his ARF retirement record and his pay records confirm that he got credited with duty on October 28-29 and November 11-14, periods when he was in Alabama. What's more, the presidential dental records released last night show that he was in Alabama a short time later, on January 6, 1973.

The problem is that William Turnipseed, the retired general who commanded the unit that Bush had transferred to, the 187th Air National Guard Tactical squadron at Dannelly Air National Guard base, says he doesn't remember ever seeing Bush.

Well, maybe he just forgot? He was probably a busy guy, after all. But Bob Mintz, who was a pilot in the 187th during that period, says that Bush's transfer was the subject of considerable scuttlebutt at the time and they were all eager to get a look at him. According to a story in the Memphis Flyer today, they never did:

Recalls Memphian Mintz, now 63: I remember that I heard someone was coming to drill with us from Texas. And it was implied that it was somebody with political influence. I was a young bachelor then. I was looking for somebody to prowl around with. But, says Mintz, that somebody -- better known to the world now as the president of the United States -- never showed up at Dannelly in 1972. Nor in 1973, nor at any time that Mintz, a FedEx pilot now and an Eastern Airlines pilot then, when he was a reserve first lieutenant at Dannelly, can remember.

And I was looking for him, repeated Mintz, who said that he assumed that Bush changed his mind and went somewhere else to do his substitute drill.

Theres no way we wouldnt have noticed a strange rooster in the henhouse, especially since we were looking for him, insists Mintz, who has pored over documents relating to the matter now making their way around the Internet.

....Though some accounts reckon the total personnel component of the 187th as consisting of several hundred, the actual flying squadron that to which Bush was reassigned number only 25 to 30 pilots, Mintz said. Theres no doubt. I would have heard of him, seen him, whatever.

Another member of the 187th, Paul Bishop, says the same thing: "I never saw hide nor hair of Mr. Bush."

So if Bush wasn't at Dannelly Air Base, where was he? And what was he getting paid for?

Kevin Drum 3:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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