Posted by Peter
A retired National Guard officer now living in East Tennessee is weighing into the debate over President Bush's service record. [T]he man who swore then-Lieutenant George Bush into the Air National Guard, is rising to the President's defense from his Blount County home.
Retired Colonel Ed Morrisey served in the Air National Guard and is familiar with the President's record since the beginning of his service.
"George W. went to pilot training, seated well, being selected to be a fighter pilot, which is at the top of the line in the Air Force selection process. Came back to train in the F-102 at Ellington. He stood alert like anyone else," says Colonel Morrisey.
According to Morrisey, then-Lieutenant Bush more than fulfilled his guard requirements. Morrisey says in the six years the President served he never failed to meet participation point requirements.
"Bush averaged 176 per year. In no year did he have less that 50," says Morrisey. "He was rated by his commander, Col. Maurice Udell in the top 5 of his pilots."
One of the criticisms leveled at the President is that he sought guard service to keep him from serving in Vietnam. Morrisey says, "not so."
"The Air Force, in their ultimate wisdom, assembled a group of 102's and took them to Southeast Asia. Bush volunteered to go. But he needed to have 500 [flight] hours, but he only had just over 300 hours so he wasn't eligible to go,” Morrisey recalls.
Despite that, Lieutenant Bush stayed busy. "He flew in active air defense missions, training missions. Day, night, regardless of inclement weather," Morrisey says.
Colonel Morrisey assured us that to the best of his knowledge Lieutenant Bush was treated like any other officer in the Texas Air National Guard.