Funny how the GOP attack machine is going after Kerry's military record attempting to pull another Max Cleland. They are not only chickenhawks, but dammit, they will do what they must to smear those who actually did
make real sacrifices for their country.
But if the GOP wants a comparison, then a comparison they'll get. The comparison below is culled from a DNC report about to be released on their site comparing the Bush and Kerry service records:
While at Yale
Enlisted in the US Naval Reserves. Feb. 18, 1966
Bush received student deferments until June 1968; that year marked the height of the Vietnam draft. [Washington Post, 7/28/99]
Applied for spot in Texas Air National Guard in January of 1968, before graduation. Before he graduated, Bush personally visited Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt -- the commander of the Texas Air National Guard -- to talk about the Guard.
After Bush met with Staudt, he applied and was quickly accepted -- despite a waiting list of over 150 applicants.
Contrary to Bush's denials of special treatment, it was later disclosed that a personal friend of Bush's father had secured the spot in the Guard for Bush.
Bush later acknowledges he entered Guard to avoid going to Vietnam: "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes." [Houston Chronicle, 5/8/94]
Enters and Completes Officer Training School
Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard after his student deferment ran out when he graduated from Yale in 1968.
"His score on the pilot aptitude section, one of five on the test, was in the 25th percentile, the lowest allowed for would-be fliers." [Dallas Morning News, 7/4/99]
Bush received a direct appointment, allowing him to become a second lieutenant right out of basic training without having to go though officer candidate school. The direct appointment also cleared the way for a position in pilot training school. [Houston Chronicle, 10/10/92; Los Angeles Times, 7/4/99]
On Bush's application to the 147th Fighter Group at Ellington Air Force Base in Texas, Bush was asked what his "Area Assignment Preferences" were. Bush checked the box beside "Do Not Volunteer" for overseas duty. [Application for Extended Duty With The United States Air Force, 5/27/68]
KerryRequest for Second Post
Deployed to Western Pacific to Support Operations in Vietnam
In the summer of 1970, Bush moved into the Chateaux Dijon apartment complex, "a popular spot for singles, it offered fancy street lamps and striped awnings and six pools filled with ambitious secretaries, students and young businessmen. Bush relished his bachelor life there. He played hard, plunging into all-day water volleyball games, but left frequently for 24-hour flight duty in the alert shack at Ellington Field." [Washington Post, 7/28/99]
On Feb. 10, 1968, Kerry requests duty in Vietnam. He lists his first billet preference as an Officer in Charge of a swift boat and his second as a patrol officer in a River Patrol Boat (PBR) squadron.
In May 1972, Bush gets a job on an Alabama Senate Campaign. He leaves Houston and requests transfer to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Alabama. Although Bush notes his aeronautical rating as "flying status," his request is turned down because the 9921 was a postal unit. His transfer is later approved to a different Alabama unit. [AF 1288--Bush signature, 24 May 72; Approved: 26 May 72]
Kerry leaves his post on the Gridley, and becomes a student at the Naval Amphibious Base, in Coronado, California in preparation for service on a swift boat in Vietnam. He is promoted from Ensign to Lt. JG and extends his active duty commitment by six months.
While in Vietnam Kerry is involved in more than a dozen missions receiving hostile fire.
He is wounded three times and decorated with three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. Kerry is ordered by Naval regulations to return home after being wounded three times.
During Bush's service in Alabama:
He is suspended from flight status for his failure to take required annual medical exam. [Washington Post, 2/15/02; Aeronautical Orders, Number 87, 29 Sept 72; AFM 35-13, Para 2-29m]
He attends the Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida with his father. [Bill Minutaglio, First Son, p. 144].
Pay records released by the White House show that he was paid for 2 days service during the six-month period covering the Blount campaign. [White House Release: Bush Pay Records]
Bush's superior officers were unable to complete his annual evaluation for 1972 because, "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report." [AF-77, 2 May 73]
Completes Full Active Duty Commitment
According to records released by the White House itself, Bush may fallen short on minimum requirements expected for Guard members. Bush served 25 days of combined active and weekend Guard duty between May 27, 1972 and May 26, 1973, even though minimum requirements were one weekend a month--24 days a year--plus another 15 days of active duty. Moreover, in 1973 Bush received 15 extra (called "gratuitous") points toward the 50 points needed each year toward his retirement. Guard members commonly received such extras if they had already met the minimum 50 points each year without the additional points. Bush only earned 41 points during the 1972-3 year. According to Wayne Rambo, who was chief administrative officer of the Alabama unit to which Bush was assigned, "that would have been a decided violation of the norm" because extra points were meant "only as a reward to reservists for meeting their bottom line." [Boston Globe, 2/11/04; Memphis Flyer, 2/16/04]
The bottom line? While Kerry was taking incoming, Bush was playing "all-day water volleyball games" with "ambitious secretaries".
And the GOP wants to make Kerry's military service an issue?
I'll add a link to the full DNC comparison once it's live on their site. And as Atrios says, reward good behavior.