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   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30494-2004Feb10.html

The gap in Bush's records coincides with a period in his life that he has referred to as his "nomadic" years. As Bush's father was considering a job offer in late 1972 from Richard M. Nixon to become chairman of the Republican National Committee, the younger Bush stayed with his parents in Washington for the holidays. In a now famous incident, he took his then-16-year-old brother, Marvin, out drinking and ran over a neighbor's garbage cans on the way home; and when confronted by his father, he challenged him to go "mano a mano" outside. In early 1973, Bush worked for an inner-city youth program in Houston.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30494-2004Feb10.html

Guard Records On President Are Released

By Lois Romano and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 11, 2004; Page A01


The White House released yesterday summaries of President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service records and pay documents, which the president's spokesman said demonstrate that Bush fulfilled his Vietnam War-era military obligations in the early '70s.

The documents indicate that Bush performed Guard service in the fall of 1972 and in early 1973, and show that he was paid for work during the period that Democrats have alleged Bush shirked his service.

"When you serve, you are paid for that service," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "These documents outline the days on which he was paid. That means he served. And these documents also show he met his requirements. And it's just really a shame that people are continuing to bring this up. . . . These documents clearly show that the president fulfilled his duties."

The documents include payroll sheets never before made public. Summaries prepared by the Defense Financing Accounting Service indicate that Bush was paid for service in October and November 1972 and in January and April 1973. That spans a period -- from May 1972 to May 1973 -- when Bush was assigned to Guard units in Alabama and Houston and that has been the focus of Democratic critics.

But the records -- which McClellan said are all the documents that the White House has -- do not show the exact nature or whereabouts of Bush's service during that period. Military experts -- including one cited by the White House -- said such records should exist.

In addition, according to the new documents, Bush was performing service or unit drills at a time when his commanding officers in Houston said they could not evaluate him because "he has not been observed" at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston -- as they had written in previously released National Guard records. That report was signed by two officers on May 2, 1973, a day that the new documents show Bush was supposed to have been performing service in Houston.

Bush's military record during the Vietnam War was an issue during the 2000 campaign and was revived recently when Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe called Bush "AWOL" -- absent without leave -- and contrasted his service with that of Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry (D), a decorated veteran.

The controversy has been growing steadily in recent days. Bush said on Sunday that he would authorize the release of all his National Guard records, as his administration began to mount an aggressive defense of the president's military service. But the documents released yesterday still leave unanswered questions.

National Guard members receive points for the times they appear for drills and other duty. The documents released yesterday were annual summaries of the points Bush earned. The typed documents are in contrast to the other documents in Bush's personnel file, which offer handwritten, detailed pages of dates of service in the earlier years. No handwritten documents of Bush's annual points have ever surfaced for May 1972 through May 1973.

Bush enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard in 1968, two weeks before graduating from Yale and at the height of the Vietnam War. He trained as a pilot and flew out of Ellington until April 1972.

At issue is a 12-month period, commencing in May 1972, when Bush moved to Alabama to work on a senatorial campaign. He received permission to transfer to an Alabama unit and was instructed to report for duty there. Until now, there has been no definitive evidence in his file that he ever reported to the Alabama unit to perform drills -- and the officer to whom Bush was told to report has said in interviews with reporters that he has no recollection Bush reported.

In a contentious White House briefing yesterday, McClellan repeatedly said that the documents show the president "fulfilled his duties," as reporters asked for specifics not indicated in the documents.

Asked whether the records shown should end the controversy about Bush's service, McClellan said: "You have to ask those who made these outrageous accusations if they stand by them in the face of this documentation that demonstrates he served and fulfilled his duties.''

White House officials said they thought that the documents would calm the controversy. They added that they were stunned at the intensity of the questioning at McClellan's briefings about what the records proved and did not prove. "We were taken aback," one official said.

McAuliffe again questioned Bush's service yesterday, declaring in a statement: "The handful of documents released . . . by the White House creates more questions than answers. The fact remains that there is still no evidence that George W. Bush showed up for duty as ordered while in Alabama. We also still do not know why the President's superiors filed a report saying they were unable to evaluate his performance for that year because he had not been present to be evaluated."

Kerry lowered his stance on the issue yesterday, telling reporters at Dulles International Airport, after arriving from Tennessee, that he did not want to comment. "It's not an issue that I chose to create," he said. "It's not my record that's at issue, and I don't have any questions about it."

White House communications director Dan Bartlett said yesterday that the reason Bush's supervisors could not evaluate him in May 1973 was because he was no longer flying, and was, therefore, performing various odd jobs and not reporting to any one commander. Bartlett also confirmed that Bush's complete personnel file is being forwarded to Washington from an archive in Denver for review.

Albert C. Lloyd, a retired personnel officer in the Texas Air National Guard -- who helped the White House review Bush's file both in 2000 and recently -- said "original documentation" would have been filed when Bush performed his duties stating exactly where they were performed and what he did. "The document goes to the payroll office and shows he performed at X place for X hours on X dates," Lloyd said from his home in Austin.

Lloyd said he voted for Bush in 2000 but that he has not decided whether he will vote for the president again. "I'm not happy with him," he said. He declined to elaborate.

McClellan was pressed yesterday on why no one who served with Bush in Alabama has come forward despite years of publicity on the subject. The spokesman conceded that the White House has not located anyone who served with Bush in Alabama. "Obviously, we would have made people available," he said.

The gap in Bush's records coincides with a period in his life that he has referred to as his "nomadic" years. As Bush's father was considering a job offer in late 1972 from Richard M. Nixon to become chairman of the Republican National Committee, the younger Bush stayed with his parents in Washington for the holidays. In a now famous incident, he took his then-16-year-old brother, Marvin, out drinking and ran over a neighbor's garbage cans on the way home; and when confronted by his father, he challenged him to go "mano a mano" outside. In early 1973, Bush worked for an inner-city youth program in Houston.

Bush received permission to leave the Guard six months early to attend Harvard Business School.

Staff researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.

2004 The Washington Post Company



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