George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard
George W. Bush’s military service began in 1968. He was set to graduate from Yale University which would make his eligible for the draft into the Vietnam War. In all likelihood, he would be drafted and serve his country there. However, Bush sought acceptance in the Texas Air National Guard. Whatever his true intentions were, this would certainly decrease his chances of actually being dispatched to Vietnam. Although his entrance scores were low, he was accepted into the service of the Texas Air National Guard.
In 1968, Bush completed flight school and began further training that would last six months starting in November of 1969. From June 1970 to April 1972, he was reported to have flown with is unit frequently. In May of that year, he decided to run for a position in the U.S. Senate and gained approval to move to Alabama. While in this state, Bush was required to continue his National Guard duty with a unit there. He failed to have his required yearly physical exam and was removed from flight duty in August, 1972. His records show he did nothing in regards to military service from April 16, 1972 to October 28, 1972, and no records show he served with any unit at all in Alabama.
However, Bush was honorably discharged in 1973, but one requirement to justify this action required him to fulfill the duties of a contract he signed at the beginning of his service in the Texas Air National Guard. In this six-year “military service obligation,” he was required to be present at 44 training drills every fiscal year starting on July 1, 1972. Bush’s own records confirm that he was only present at 36 drills in the fiscal year of 1972-1973, and a mere 12 drills starting in the 1973 period until he was discharged on July 30.
The reason for this early discharge was to allow him to attend Harvard business school. The controversy surrounding his apparent failure to meet his military obligation was first brought up in his campaign to replace the previous governor of Texas in 1995. It came back to haunt him again in his first presidential race against Al Gore in 2000. Whatever exactly happened with Bush and his service in the Texas Air National Guard, he seems to have been meeting requirements until he moved to Alabama and failed to continue his service there as was required of him.