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September 14, 2004

It Wasn't Hard to Get into the Air National Guard in 1968

People keep saying it was hard to get into the Air National Guard in 1968, but after all the lying the Democrats have been doing, I've been wondering if there is any factual basis for that assertion, plausible though it is. According to the Dallas Morning News of July 4, 1999, as posted by Beldarblog, it is false. The article gives specific numbers which if true show that the Air National Guard had more slots than it could fill. Thus, we can deduce that Bush was shown no favoritism for the simple reason that there was no favor-- he was volunteering to do something nobody else wanted to do. It wasn't hard to get in. Here's the story....


Records provided to The News by Tom Hail, a historian for the Texas Air National Guard, show that the unit Mr. Bush signed up for was not filled. In mid--1968, the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, based in Houston, had 156 openings among its authorized staff of 925 military personnel.

Of those, 26 openings were for officer slots, such as that filled by Mr. Bush, and 130 were for enlisted men and women. Also, several former Air Force pilots who served in the unit said that they were recruited from elsewhere to fly for the Texas Guard.


While Guard slots generally were coveted, pilot positions required superior education, physical fitness and the willingness to spend more than a year in full--time training.

"If somebody like that came along, you'd snatch them up," said the former commander [Staudt], who retired as a general. "He took no advantage. It wouldn't have made any difference whether his daddy was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."


His score on the pilot aptitude section, one of five on the test, was in the 25th percentile, the lowest allowed for would--be fliers.


On the "officer quality section," designed to measure intangible traits such as leadership, Mr. Bush scored better than 95 percent of those taking the test.


Former Guard officials and members of Mr. Bush's unit said that release, seven months early, was not unusual for the Guard. Mr. Bush's unit was changing airplanes at the time, from the single--seat F--102 to the dual--seat F--101. They said it made little sense to retrain him for just a few months' service, and letting him go freed spots for the Guard to recruit F-- 101 pilots from the Air Force and elsewhere.

Maybe--*maybe*-- it was hard to get into the Army National Guard in Massachusetts in 1968 because lots of people afraid of being drafted were volunteering. But that doesn't mean it was hard to get into the Texas Air National Guard.

Posted by erasmuse at September 14, 2004 05:36 PM

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