...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

February 12, 2004

"Bush And I Were Lieutenants"

Read this letter to the editor published in the Washington Times, written by Col. William Campenni (ret.), who served in the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Texas Air National Guard from 1970 to 1971. It hits all the points and i must say, it confirms some of what i wrote in my F-102 post of February 5, 2004.

The key quotes, from my point of view are this one:

The mission of the 147th Fighter Group and its subordinate 111th FIS, Texas ANG, and the airplane it possessed, the F-102, was air defense. It was focused on defending the continental United States from Soviet nuclear bombers. The F-102 could not drop bombs and would have been useless in Vietnam. A pilot program using ANG volunteer pilots in F-102s (called Palace Alert) was scrapped quickly after the airplane proved to be unsuitable to the war effort. Ironically, Lt. Bush did inquire about this program but was advised by an ANG supervisor (Maj. Maurice Udell, retired) that he did not have the desired experience (500 hours) at the time and that the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.
and this one:
The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush's tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one's life.
and also:
[T]he Kerrys, Moores and McAuliffes are casting a terrible slander on those who served in the Guard, then and now. . . . In the Cold War, the air defense of the United States was borne primarily by the Air National Guard, by such people as Lt. Bush and me and a lot of others. Six of those with whom I served in those years never made their 30th birthdays because they died in crashes flying air-defense missions.

While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico.

Link thanks to Prof. Hewitt.

Posted by annika, Feb. 12, 2004 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


That's been bugging me but I haven't said anything about it. While people made snide remarks about how being the Texas ANG wasn't really the same as being in the military I've wondered what other members thought of it. In there haste to insult President Bush, they seem to have forgotten there's a lot of people who were members of the Guard and are being insulted at the same time. The whole thing bugs me though. This is what elections have come to on both sides. Instead of talking about things that matter and how they will make things better, everyone just wants to insult everyone else.

Posted by: Rob on Feb. 12, 2004

The facts will out, yet again.

Posted by: joe on Feb. 12, 2004