February 29, 2004

Bush bio on Web inflates Guard service

The Emperor has no uniform...

Walter Robinson, Boston Globe: the biography of Bush
on the US State Department's website credits him with
almost six years in the F-102's cockpit -- two years
on active duty flying the plane and nearly four more
years of part-time service as an F-102 pilot. The
websites of at least five American embassies -- those
in Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Vietnam, and South Korea
-- use the identical language, even though Bush spent
barely two years flying the airplane.

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http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/articles/2004/02/28/bush_bio_on_web_inflates_guard_service/

Bush bio on Web inflates Guard service
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, 2/28/2004

Questions remain about President Bush's long-ago
service in the Texas Air National Guard. But the basic
outline of his Guard service is not in dispute: After
a year in flight school, Bush spent five months
learning how to fly an F-102 fighter-interceptor and
then 22 months as a part-time pilot. He stopped flying
in April 1972 -- 30 months before his formal
commitment would normally have ended.


Nonetheless, the biography of Bush on the US State
Department's website credits him with almost six years
in the F-102's cockpit -- two years on active duty
flying the plane and nearly four more years of
part-time service as an F-102 pilot. The websites of
at least five American embassies -- those in Germany,
Italy, Pakistan, Vietnam, and South Korea -- use the
identical language, even though Bush spent barely two
years flying the airplane.

After the 2000 election, when evidence of Bush's
abbreviated flying career and his propensity to miss
required drills became public, the presidential
biography written for the White House website made no
mention of the period of Bush's service, only that he
served as an F-102 pilot.

But the State Department biography of Bush, which has
been on its website since 2001, makes the president
out to be more of a frequent flyer than the
embellished account in Bush's 1999 autobiography, "A
Charge To Keep." In that book, Bush said he flew with
his unit for "the next several years" after his five
months of training on the F-102 concluded in June
1970.

The errant biography on the State Department website
was called to the Globe's attention yesterday by Hugh
E. Scott, a retired Continental Airlines captain and
former Air Force pilot from Newbury Park, Calif.

The State Department site --
http://usinfo.state.gov/products/

pubs/presbush/bio -- says that before Bush graduated
from Yale in 1968, "he went to the offices of the
Texas Air National Guard at Ellington Air Force Base
outside Houston to sign up for pilot training. One
motivation, he said, was to learn to fly, as his
father had done during World War II." It continues:
"George W. was commissioned as a second lieutenant and
spent two years on active duty, flying F-102 fighter
interceptors. For almost four years after that, he was
on a part-time status, flying occasional missions to
help the Air National Guard keep two of its F-102s on
round-the-clock alert."

Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director,
asked yesterday about that language, said: "It does
not reflect the facts of his service. It will be
corrected."

Globe correspondent Bill Dedman contributed to this
report.

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.


Posted by richard at February 29, 2004 08:08 PM