|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
August 24, 2006
RESPONSE TO A QUESTION FROM THE BRIEFING
Q Scott, two questions, one on the documents, one on the issue. There seems to be a discrepancy now in the President's record that I wondered if you could help me with. These documents that you're holding up show that the President showed up for duty in October and November of '72, January, April and May of '73. But the President's officer effectiveness report, filed by his commanders, Lieutenants Colonel Killean and Harris, both now deceased, for the period 01 May '72 to 30 April, '73, says he has not been observed at this unit, where he was supposed to show up and earning these points on these days. How do you square --
MR. McCLELLAN: You're talking about which unit?
Q The Texas -- at the Ellington Air Force Base.
MR. McCLELLAN: From '72 to '73?
Q Correct. And certainly by -- the President said he returned to Texas in November of '72. So some of these dates of service, which are in these records, ought to have been noted by his commanding officers, who, nevertheless, said, twice, he has not been observed here. Can you explain that?
The President remembers returning to Ellington and serving in a non-flying status. He was not being rated by officers as a pilot. His non-flying status at the time was previously addressed during the 2000 campaign, as reported in the Boston Globe.
Excerpt from Boston Globe, May 23, 2000:
In Bush's annual efficiency report, dated May 2, 1973, the two supervising pilots did not rate Bush for the prior year, writing, "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report. A civilian occupation made it necessary for him to move to Montgomery, Alabama. He cleared this base on 15 May 1972 and has been performing equivalent training in a non-flying status with the 187 Tac Recon Gp, Dannelly ANG Base, Alabama."
Asked about that declaration, campaign spokesman Bartlett said Bush told him that since he was no longer flying, he was doing "odds and ends" under different supervisors whose names he could not recall.