With the Vietnam war in full swing, Bush was due to graduate from Yale. Knowing he'd soon be eligible for the draft, he took an air force officers' test hoping to secure a billet with the Texas Air National Guard, which would allow him to do his military service at home.
Bush didn't do particularly well on the test--on the pilot aptitude section, he scored in the 25th percentile, the lowest possible passing grade.
But Bush's father, George H.W., was then a U.S. congressman from Houston, and strings were pulled. The younger Bush vaulted to the head of a long waiting list--a year and a half long, by some estimates--and in May of '68 he was inducted into the guard.
Bush helps out with Winton Blount's political campaign, instead of fight in the war.
Pentagon insitutes random drug screning. Bush refuses to take a physical and gets grounded.
In September he was ordered to report to a different unit of the Alabama guard, the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery. Bush says he did so, but his nominal superiors say they never saw the guy, there's no documentation he ever showed up, and not one of the six or seven hundred soldiers then in the unit has stepped forward to corroborate Bush's story.
After the November election Bush returned to Texas, but apparently didn't notify his old Texas guard unit for quite a while, if ever.
The Boston Globe initially reported that he started putting in some serious duty time in May, June, and July of 1973 to make up for what he'd missed. But according to a piece in the New Republic, there's no evidence Bush did even that.
Whatever the case, even though his superiors knew he'd blown off his duties, they never disciplined him.
Indeed, when Bush decided to go to business school at Harvard in the fall of 1973, he requested and got an honorable discharge--eight months before his service was scheduled to end.
Edited by Hambil, 20 August 2004 - 12:29 PM.