Monday, September 13, 2004

Some Grade School Arithmetic for U.S. News (and its admirers)

[Update 9-14-04] LFUTB is nothing, if not educable. Under the guidance of a former Texas ANG pilot who flew with Lt George W. Bush, we undertook an alternative analysis of US News' claims. Using their own rules:

A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period.... [H]e failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.... Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration....

Fine, let's use the fiscal year July 1, 1972-June 30, 1973, rather than the May 28th anniversary of Lt Bush's entry into the ANG. He still accumulates enough points--50--for a "good year" toward retirement. Interested (and not easily bored) readers can verify for themselves here, that Bush earned 51 points. Where the USN&WR erred, is in saying:

he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year

Because that is wrong. There are fourteen different "types of duty" that Bush could have pulled, and they are worth different numbers of points. In the document linked to above, under the column "TD", you will find the code number "2" (for UTA duty, and a little math will show these are worth 2 points) and you will also see some code "1" under the same "TD" column (for "AFT" duty, which are only worth one point).

Contrary to Professor DeLong's "news magazine", it is not the number of days that count, but the number of points. Bush's first points are earned Oct 28-29, 1972--"two UTA" worth a total of 4 points. Two weeks later (and after the election) he acquires 2 more "UTA" points each of four days, on November 11, 12, 13, and 14, 1972. Six days in the two months, counting for twelve points.

Similarly, in January 1973 Bush is pulling 6 more "UTA" duty days worth another 12 points; he's almost half way home. Which no doubt accounts for no duty in February and March, probably because he is moving back to Houston and hasn't the time.

April 7-8, are two more UTAs for 4 points, and May sees him earning 2 more UTA "doubles" (for 4 pts) and 9 "AFT" single points. In two months he's earned 17 points.

[And now I pause to solve another supposed mystery, for those too slow to have already figured it out: Bush's May 1973 Fitness Report has him not being rated, because he was not "observed" on Ellington AFB during the rating period. Not literally true, but according to ANG regulations (I've been told) his commander must have seen him for 90 days or more to rate him. April 7 to May 26 is less than sixty days. So, no rating for the period between his anniversary dates (which is a different period than the fiscal year) Btw, the Vietnam War is now officially ended, and our POWs home.]

To this point Bush has accumulated 41 points. To keep score at home, one has to click and here, where it tells us that on May 29, 30, and 31st he earned 3 "AFT" single points. Another three singles on June 5,6, and 7, and his final 4 points for "UTA" doubles on June 23, and 24.

That's all she wrote folks. Read em and weep, if you're a Harvard economist with your reputation for analysis in shreds, that is. Under either scenario, Bush has the points.

And, for good measure, about to be private citizen and MBA candidate Geo. W. Bush, puts in 13 days in July 1973: 7 single point "AFT", and 6 "UTA" doubles, for a total of 19 points. He takes August off, and applies for an "early out" to further his education, on September 5, and is granted that--on the recommendation of Lt Col Jerry Killian!--on October 1, 1973.

Almost 5 years before John Kerry is mysteriously granted his honorable discharge after six (or eight, depending how one counts the puzzling records) in 1978. Would Professor DeLong care to e-mail me an explanation of that phenomenon, I'd be happy to print it here.

-----------------ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS--------------------------
I want to re-explain something else that a Harvard trained economist should have been able to grasp (at least by the second time he was told) about the somewhat puzzling 5 month gap (May-Oct, 1972) in Geo. W. Bush's ANG records.

Lt Bush first got permission, in May '72, to drill with the 9921st in Montgomery. Alabama, in a "Training Category G" status. With no pay. Service that wasn't disallowed by Denver until July 31st. Air Force Headquarters sent a copy of that rejection to Lt Bush c/o of the 9921st in Montgomery Alabama. Which would indicate he spent some time with that unit.

And that could explain John "Bill" Calhoun's persistent memories of seeing Bush on Dannelly AFB as early as May '72. I'm attempting to contact Mr. Calhoun to verify that, but a former pilot colleague of Geo. W. Bush's, with whom I am in regular contact, believes my theory is plausible.

After serving at Ellington in April, Lt Bush "cleared the base" in Houston in May 1972. There are no pay records for any service by Bush until that October, but there wouldn't be, because he wasn't drawing any pay.

Since the transfer was disallowed, he might not have been eligible to use any drills with the 9921st to accumulate points toward retirement, either. Hence, according to the records, it looks like he's simply missing. But that doesn't make sense, since several people he worked with on the Blount campaign remember talking about his ANG duty then with him.

Occam's Razor: Bush did pull duty in June and July with the 9921st, but didn't get credit for it because of AF regulations. When he found out, sometime in August, that he'd been wasting his time "drilling" with the 9921st, he first found a home with John Calhoun's 187th. Mailed the information to his Houston COs, September 5th, and they, in turn, authorized his service in Alabama anew in time for him to drill in October.

And that is a perfect fit with the official records. Keep in mind while studying those records that, U.S. NEWS is a "news magazine", in the same sense that Dan Rather is a reporter. A "drill" with the ANG Reserve is four hours not a full day. Thus, most week-ends earn the person 4 points toward a "good year". The records have Bush earning:

On Oct 28 and 29, 197............................ 4 points
On Nov 11, 12, 13, and 14, 1972............ 8 ppoints
On Jan 4,5, and 6, 1973.......................... 6 points
On Jan 8,9 and 10, ................................. 6 points

That's how Lt. Bush made up for the disallowed drills with the 9921st. By doing extra service with the 187th on Dannelly AFB. He needed 50 points by May 26, 1973, and he got 56 (with additional service in April and May, when his year ends).

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