By Byron York, The Hill national newspaper 9/9/04. Forwarded by BGen R. Clements USAF (Ret)

What do you really know about George W. Bush's time in the Air National Guard? That he didn't show up for duty in Alabama? That he missed a physical? That his daddy got him in?

News coverage of the president's years in the Guard has tended to focus on one brief portion of that time - to the exclusion of virtually everything else. So just for the record, here, in full, is what Bush did:

The future president joined the Guard in May 1968. Almost immediately, he began an extended period of training. Six weeks of basic training. Fifty-three weeks of flight training. Twenty-one weeks of fighter-interceptor training.

That was 80 weeks to begin with and there were other training periods thrown in as well. It was full-time work. By the time it was over, Bush had served nearly two years. Not two years of weekends. Two years.

After training, Bush kept flying, racking up hundreds of hours in F-102 jets. As he did, he accumulated points toward his National Guard service requirements. At the time, guardsmen were required to accumulate a minimum of 50 points to meet their yearly obligation.

According to records released earlier this year, Bush earned 253 points in his first year, May 1968 to May 1969 (since he joined in May 1968, his service thereafter was measured on a May-to-May basis).

Bush earned 340 points in 1969-1970. He earned 137 points in 1970-1971. And he earned 112 points in 1971-1972. The numbers indicate that in his first four years, Bush not only showed up, he showed up a lot. Did you know that?

That brings the story to May 1972 - the time that has been the focus of so many news reports - when Bush “deserted” (according to anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore) or went “AWOL” (according to Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee).

Bush asked for permission to go to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign. His superior officers said OK. “Requests like that weren't unusual,” says retired Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush in 1970 and 1971.

“In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots,” Campenni says. “The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In '72 or '73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem.”

So Bush stopped flying. From May 1972 to May 1973, he earned just 56 points - not much, but enough to meet his requirement.

Then, in 1973, as Bush made plans to leave the Guard and go to Harvard Business School, he again started showing up frequently.

In June and July of 1973, he accumulated 56 points, enough to meet the minimum requirement for the 1973-1974 year. Then, at his request, he was given permission to go. Bush received an honorable discharge after serving five years, four months and five days of his original six-year commitment. By that time, however, he had accumulated enough points in each year to cover six years of service.

During his service, Bush received high marks as a pilot. A 1970 evaluation said Bush “clearly stands out as a top notch fighter interceptor pilot” and was “a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership.”

A 1971 evaluation called Bush “an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot” who “continually flies intercept missions with the unit to increase his proficiency even further.” And a 1972 evaluation called Bush “an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer.”

Now, it is only natural that news reports questioning Bush's service - in The Boston Globe and The New York Times, on CBS and in other outlets - would come out now. Democrats are spitting mad over attacks on John Kerry's record by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

And, as it is with Kerry, it's reasonable to look at a candidate's entire record, including his military service - or lack of it. Voters are perfectly able to decide whether it's important or not in November.

The Kerry camp blames Bush for the Swift boat veterans' attack, but anyone who has spent much time talking to the Swifties gets the sense that they are doing it entirely for their own reasons.

And it should be noted in passing that Kerry has personally questioned Bush's service, while Bush has not personally questioned Kerry's.

In April - before the Swift boat veterans had said a word - Kerry said Bush “has yet to explain to America whether or not, and tell the truth, about whether he showed up for duty.” Earlier, Kerry said, “Just because you get an honorable discharge does not, in fact, answer that question.”

Now, after the Swift boat episode, the spotlight has returned to Bush. That's fine. We should know as much as we can. And perhaps someday Kerry will release more of his military records as well.

Byron York is a White House correspondent for National Review. His column appears in The Hill each week. E-mail: []


Charles Moskos is professor emeritus of sociology at Northwestern University. A former U.S. Army draftee in the combat engineers in Germany, his research has taken him to combat units in Vietnam, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. The author of many books and over 200 articles in scholarly journals, his writings have been translated in 19 languages. This essay is based on a presentation at an FPRI conference on “The Future of the Reserves and National Guard,” held on December 6, 2004.

By Charles Moskos, April 7, 2005
Forwarded by Colonel TJ O'Neil USAF (Ret)

The desirable end-strength of our armed forces, especially that of the Army, has become a subject of concern. All agree that the military manpower demands owing to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan are causing extraordinary strain. Recruitment and retention shortfalls in the Army is expected to be especially severe in reserve components. Indeed, the Army Reserve is “rapidly degenerating into a broken force” in the words of its top commander in early 2005.

Our focus here will be on the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard, by far the largest of the reserve components (RC) and the forces experiencing the greatest difficulties. As of this writing (January, 2005), RC make up some 40 percent of the military in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Among the Army dead in OIF, about a quarter have been from reserve components.



By Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - The National Guard celebrated its 368th birthday on Dec. 13, 2004 with its members focused more closely on homeland defense than the four Massachusetts militia units that stood up on Dec. 13, 1638, might ever have imagined.

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau - Army Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum - called the Guard's role supporting the war on terror, homeland defense and homeland security a case of “back to the future,” but with a sophisticated twist. It's a role Blum said the Guard is eminently suited for, because it's already forward deployed nationwide, in every state and territory, “where people live, work, worship, play and go to school.”

“We come from the homeland,” Blum said. “We have our units dispersed all over the country in 3,500 different locations. You can't drive 25 miles in any direction in a populated area without running into a National Guard armory.” This, Blum said, makes the National Guard “your first military responders” to any emergency. If something goes wrong, it is always going to be local,” he said. “Even 9/11 was very local although it became a national event very quickly. But it was very local to Manhattan, very local to the Pentagon, and very local to the field in Pennsylvania.”

During those attacks, he said the National Guard demonstrated the same “Minuteman” response exhibited by its forefathers in the fledgling Massachusetts militia, who defended their settlement and colony against attack. Within 24 hours of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Blum said, 8,600 members of the New York National Guard responded to the World Trade Center site, most without military orders. “They didn't get mobilized. They didn't go to mobilization stations. They went right to the problem and started dealing with it, restoring confidence and security, reducing suffering and saving lives and property.”

A similar situation played out at the Pentagon, where the first military responders from outside the Pentagon were members of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia National Guards. In addition, the Air National Guard flew 90 percent of the first 400 combat air patrols flown over every major city in the United States within the first 24 hours of the attack. In more than three years since the attacks, Blum said the Air National Guard continues to fly 90 percent of the county's air combat missions in defense of the homeland.

“How can you call yourself something like the National Guard and not take the defense of the nation as your mission No. 1?” Blum asked. “This is our No. 1 priority, our No. 1 focus, and our No. 1 mission.” He said the Guard provides “tremendous capabilities” to U.S. Northern Command, including situational awareness capabilities, intelligence and information feeds, and chemical-biological and weapons of mass destruction response force packages as needed. Guard members also provide a forward- deployed command and control apparatus and joint logistics base in every U.S. state and territory, he said.

“As part of this expanded role, the Guard has established standing, joint-force headquarters in every state and territory to coordinate military plans and responses to terrorist acts. These elements aim “to detect, defeat and deter terrorist acts - and if that fails, to respond in an appropriate fashion,” Blum said. “As it transforms itself to better meet the country's future homeland defense requirements,” he continued, “the National Guard is playing a critical role in missions its forefathers in the Massachusetts colony probably never envisioned: national defense overseas.”

“Some 100,000 citizen-soldiers and airmen are deployed overseas in 44 countries, and they make up 34 percent of the U.S. force in Iraq. So we're not only defending the nation here at home, but we defend the nation in depth overseas,” supporting combatant commanders worldwide,” he noted.

“After 368 years, the National Guard has built a strong legacy and proven that it's always ready and is always there - be it in Boston Harbor, Yorktown, or in Kabul or Baghdad,” Blum concluded. “That's been our legacy since Day 1. When did the government ever call up the Guard and it didn't show? Never! And when they showed up, they got the job done!”


Have you seen the reports about how Sears is honoring its reservist employees called to active duty?

By law, companies are required to hold reservists’ jobs open and available, but nothing more. More often than not, reservists take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of a call-up… but not those employed by Sears.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for up to two years.

This makes Sears an exemplary corporate citizen that should be recognized for its contribution.

The undisclosed originator of this information wrote:

“I decided to check this out before I forwarded it, and I sent this information in an e-mail to the Sears Customer Service Department with my comments: 'I received this by email and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your store. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears now, instead of a like item from another store even if it was cheaper at the other store.'”

Here is Sear's reply:

Dear Customer:
Thank you for contacting Sears.
The information is factual.
We appreciate your positive feedback. Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make.
We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.
Bill Thorn, Sears Customer Care, 1-800-349-4358

If you appreciate this “old fashioned” concept of patriotism, perhaps you will shop at Sears when you can… and be sure to find and tell a manager why you are there so the company receives the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

… And if you know about other companies who provide similar assistance to their reservist employees, please let me know and I will give them “equal billing” here on Keeping Apace.


By Senior Airman Jay Ostrich, 193rd Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (AFPN) 7/27/2004 — Devastating, catastrophic, tragic and unfair may be words used by insurance companies and journalists to describe a tornado July 14, but you will not hear them uttered by Senior Master Sgt. John Stewart - who scoffs at such notions, despite losing his home to a tornado packing winds of up to 200 mph.

A week later, the193rd Special Operations Wing information assurance specialist gazed at the mess that was once his home on a sleepy suburb street in Campbelltown. He took a deep breath and confidently described himself as blessed, overwhelmed with joy and thankful for his Air National Guard family.

What Sergeant Stewart saw was not the destruction, but hope and salvation in the form of 85 of his fellow Airmen who volunteered to take portions of their leave over a two-day period to help the Stewart family sweep up the pieces of their home and pickup their bruised but unbroken spirits.

“The Guard has been as much a part of my family since 1981,” said a smiling Sergeant Stewart who worked as an aircraft mechanic on EC-130 Commando Solo aircraft for 19 years. “It humbles me to think that just because I am a member of the Guard, people are willing to put aside their own family’s needs just to come and help us.”

Volunteering to help people in need is just what the wing and the Guard is accustomed to doing, said Sabrina Lengner, the wing’s family readiness group president. “We all have a job to do at the wing and sometimes we step on one another’s toes while doing that,” said Ms. Lengner with a smile. “But we gladly put that aside and rush to someone in need. It’s a family thing now, and we are going to take care of one of our own.”

Cleanup day began with Sergeant Stewart jokingly welcoming everyone to his “humble abode” and retelling the story of the family’s loss. He told how his wife, Jamie, was still hospitalized and recovering from several injuries. She had scrambled to get the daughter Naomi, 14, and son Jonathan, 11, to the basement while her husband was still at work.

“The Guard has been as much a part of my family since 1981,” said a smiling Sergeant Stewart who worked as an aircraft mechanic on EC-130 Commando Solo aircraft for 19 years. “It humbles me to think that just because I am a member of the Guard, people are willing to put aside their own family’s needs just to come and help us.”

After the storm passed, Jonathan came upstairs to find his mother badly injured. Thinking quickly, he ran to get help and call 911. His daughter dutifully stayed behind with her mother and held her hand until paramedics arrived at the scene. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of my two children,” said Stewart. “My wife and I never taught them to do that, but I guess we must be doing something right.”

After relating the tale, Airmen quickly went to work demolishing toilets, sawing tangled webs of wooden framing and throwing debris of every imaginable size and shape into a 30-foot dumpster. Within 15 minutes of starting, the dumpster was filled and Sergeant Stewart was searching for another receptacle.

“That’s no surprise — these people always work hard,” said Sergeant Stewart, who was amazed that even people he had never met before had come out to help him.

“We have traveled the world together, ate together, slept together, fought together and smelled together,” Sergeant Stewart mused. “I guess this is what comes about when you share all these things.”

Sergeant Stewart said he and his family plan to rebuild an identical model home on the exact same piece of land, but he intends to make a few improvements along the way and he is looking forward to having some of his fellow Airmen back someday.

“We are so blessed to be a part of this Guard family,” said Sergeant Stewart. “This is just so overwhelming. I am a very lucky man.”


A report from Lewis Dean E MAJ MNC-I S-2 Brigade Intelligence, Sent March 22, 2005. Forwarded by AirBurd

Over the next few days you may see on television news shows and in the print news media the story of a Kentucky National Guard Military Police Squad who are heroes. I doubt that their story will get out in a truly descriptive manner. I can't express to you the pride, awe, and respect I feel for the soldiers of call sign Raven 42.

On Sunday afternoon in a very bad section of scrub-land called Salman Pak, on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, 40 to 50 heavily-armed Iraqi insurgents attacked a convoy of 30 civilian tractor trailer trucks that were moving supplies for the coalition forces, along an Alternate Supply Route.

These tractor trailers, driven by third country nationals (primarily Turkish), were escorted by three armored Hummers from the COSCOM (Corps Support Command).

When the insurgents attacked, one of the Hummers was in the kill zone. The three soldiers aboard were immediately wounded, and the platform taken under heavy machinegun and RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenades) fire. Along with them, three of the truck drivers were killed, six were wounded in the tractor trailer trucks.

The enemy attacked from a farmer's barren field next to the road, with a tree line perpendicular to the ASR (Alternate Supply Route), two dry irrigation ditches forming a rough L-shaped trench line, and a house standing off the dirt road.

After three minutes of sustained fire, a squad of enemy moved forward toward the disabled and suppressed trucks. Each of the enemy had hand-cuffs and were looking to take hostages for ransom - or worse, to take those three wounded US soldiers for more internet beheadings.

About this time, three armored Hummers that formed the MP Squad under call sign Raven 42, 617th MP Co, Kentucky National Guard, assigned to the 503rd MP Bn, 18th MP Bde, arrived on the scene like the cavalry. The squad had been shadowing the convoy from a distance behind the last vehicle, and when the convoy trucks stopped and became backed up from the initial attack, the squad sped up, paralleled the convoy up the shoulder of the road, and moved to the sound of gunfire.

They arrived on the scene just as a squad of about ten enemy had moved forward across the farmer's field and were about 20 meters from the road. The MP squad opened fire with .50 cal machineguns and Mk19 grenade launchers and drove across the front of the enemy's kill zone, between the enemy and the trucks, drawing fire off of the tractor trailers. The MP's crossed the kill zone and then turned up an access road at a right angle to the ASR and next to the field full of enemy fighters.

The three vehicles, carrying nine MPs and one medic, stopped in a line on the dirt access road and flanked the enemy positions with plunging fire from the .50 cal and the SAW machinegun (Squad Automatic Weapon). In front of them was a line of seven sedans with all their doors and trunk lids open - the getaway cars- and the lone two story house off on their left.

The middle vehicle was hit immediately by an RPG, knocking the gunner unconscious from his turret and down into the vehicle. The squad's leader thought the gunner was dead, but tried to treat him from inside the vehicle. Simultaneously, the rear vehicle's driver and section leader two open their doors and dismounted to fight, while their gunner continued firing from his position in the gun platform on top of the Hummer. All three fell under heavy return machinegun fire, wounded.

From his rearview mirror the driver of the middle vehicle saw them fall out, so he dismounted and sprinted to get into the third vehicle and take up the SAW on top the vehicle. The Squad's medic dismounted from that third vehicle, and joined by the first vehicle's driver, CLS trained (Combat Life Saving), who sprinted back to join him, began combat life-saving the three wounded MPs. The gunner on the floor of the second vehicle was revived by his squad leader, and climbed back into the .50 cal and opened fire.

The Squad leader dismounted with his M4 carbine and two hand grenades and grabbed the section leader out of the first vehicle who had rendered radio reports of their first contact. The two of them, squad leader Staff Sergeant and team leader Sergeant - with her M4 and M203 grenade launcher - rushed to the nearest ditch about 20 meters away to start clearing the natural trench line. The enemy had gone into the ditches and hid behind several small trees in the back of the lot. The .50 cal and SAW flanking fire tore apart the ten in the lead trench line.

Meanwhile, the two treating the three wounded on the ground at the rear vehicle came under sniper fire from the lone house. Each of them (remember one is a medic) pulled out AT-4 rocket launchers from the Humvee and nearly-simultaneously fired the rockets into the house to neutralize the shooter. The two sergeants worked their way up the trench line, throwing grenades, firing grenades from the launcher, and firing their M4s. The sergeant, now low on ammo, ran back to a vehicle to reload. She moved to her squad leader's vehicle, and because this squad is led so well, she knew exactly where to reach her arm blindly into a different vehicle to find ammo-because each vehicle is packed exactly the same, with discipline.

As she tureds to move back to the trench line, Gunner in number two saw an AIF (Anti-Iraq Forces) jump from behind one of the cars and start firing on the Sergeant. He pulled his 9mm, because the .50 cal is pointed in the other direction, and shot five rounds wounding him. The sergeant moved back to the trench line under fire from the back of the field, with fresh mags, two more grenades, and three more M203 rounds. The Mk 19 gunner suppressed the rear of the field.

Now, rejoined with the squad leader, the two sergeants continued clearing the enemy from the trench line, until they saw no more movement. A lone man with an RPG launcher on his shoulder stepped from behind a tree and prepared to fire on the three Hummers, but was killed with a single aimed SAW shot thru the head by the previously knocked-out gunner on platform two, who now had a SAW out to supplement the .50 cal in the mount.

The team leader sergeant: She claimed four killed by aimed M4 shots. The Squad Leader: He threw four grenades taking out at least two baddies, and attributed one other to her aimed M203 fire.

The gunner on platform two, previously knocked out from a hit by the RPG, swung his .50 cal around and, realizing that the line of vehicles represents a hazard and possible getaway for the bad guys, started shooting the .50 cal into the engine blocks until his field of fire was limited. He realized that his vehicle was still running despite the RPG hit, and dropped down from his weapon, into the drivers seat and moved the vehicle forward on two flat tires about 100 meters into a better firing position.

Just then, the vehicle died, its oil spraying everywhere. He remounted his .50 cal and continued shooting the remaining of the seven cars lined up and ready for a get-away that wasn't to happen. The fire died down about then, and a second squad arrived on the scene, dismounted and helped the two give first aid to the wounded at platform three. Two minutes later three other squads from the 617th arrived, along with the CO, and the field was secured and consolidation began.

Those seven Americans (with the three wounded) killed in total 24 heavily armed enemy, wounded 6 (two later died), and captured one unwounded, who feigned injury to escape the fight. They seized 22 AK-47s, 6x RPG launchers w/ 16 rockets, 13x RPK machineguns, 3x PKM machineguns, 40 hand grenades, 123 fully loaded 30-rd AK magazines, 52 empty mags, and 10 belts of 2500 rds of PK ammo.

The three wounded MPs were evacuated to Landstuhl. One lost a kidney and will be paralyzed. The other two will most likely recover, though one will forever have a bullet lodged between second and third ribs below his heart. No word on the three COSCOM soldiers wounded in the initial volleys.

Of the seven members of Raven 42 who walked away, two are Caucasian Women, the rest men - one is Mexican-American, the medic is African-American, and the other two are Caucasian - the great American melting pot. They believed even before this fight that their NCOs were the best in the Army, and that they have the best squad in the Army.

The Medic who fired the AT-4, said he remembered how to fire it from the week before - when his squad leader forced him to train on it, though he didn't think as a medic he would ever use one. He said he chose to use it in that moment to protect the three wounded on the ground in front of him, once they came under fire from the building.

The day before this mission, they took the recently issued new RFI bandoliers and experimented with mounting them in their vehicles. Once they figured out how, they pre-loaded a second basic load of ammo into magazines, put them into the bandoliers, and mounted them in their vehicles - the same exact way in every vehicle. Load plans were enforced and checked by leaders!

Leadership under fire: Once those three leaders (NCOs) stepped out of their vehicles, the squad was committed to the fight. Their only complaints in the AAR were the lack of stopping power in the 9mm; the .50 cal incendiary rounds they are issued in lieu of ball ammo (shortage of ball in the inventory) didn't have the penetrating power needed to pierce the walls of the building; and that everyone in the squad was not CLS trained.

Yesterday, Monday, was spent with the chaplain and the chain of command conducting AARs. Today, every news media in theater wanted them. Good Morning America, NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, Stars and Stripes, and many radio stations from Kentucky all were lined up today. The female E5 Sergeant who fought thru the trench line will become the anti-Jessica Lynch media poster child. She and her squad leader deserve every bit of recognition they will get, and more. They all do.

I participated in their AAR as the BDE S2, and am helping in putting together an action report to justify future valor awards. Lets not talk about women in combat. Lets not talk about the new Close Combat Badge not including MPs.

Dean Lewis

Acronyms / Comments:

COSCOM: Corps Support Command. The echelon that provides supply, Military Police, Medical, and other support to deployed combat Divisions and other tactical units.
RPG: Rocket Propelled Grenades. Cheap, accurate, and devastating weapons. I wish we had them. Developed by the Soviets. They are everywhere!
ASR: Alternate Supply Route. This convoy was obviously on a mission off the MSR (Main Supply Route).
CLS trained: Combat Life Saving Trained. This is a remarkable addition to the basic medical training we used to receive. It is saving lives on the battlefield as it supplements and enhances the skills the Company Medics have.
AIF: Anti-Iraq Forces
The 9mm round was a terrible decision for the Army to make. The 9mm Pistol replaced the .45 caliber Pistol just as I was leaving the Army. Believe me, one round from a 45 would have done more than wound the enemy soldier. Special Forces, Seals, Rangers, etc, and all those who engage in CQB (Close Quarters Battle) are being issued or buying their own .45s. There is an old adage: “Never go to a gun fight with a handgun that uses ammo that doesn't start with a “4”.