THE TORN DOCUMENT....So what's the deal with the George Bush AWOL story? There are a million tedious details, but as near as I can tell here's the nub of the whole thing.
Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard in 1968 and in May 1972 asked for a transfer to Alabama because he wanted to work on a political campaign there. His transfer was approved and off to Alabama he went. The problem is that he doesn't seem to have actually performed any of his required guard duty either in Alabama or after he returned to Texas. He just blew it off. There are several bits of evidence for this:
His chronological service record shows no duty between May 1972 and October 1973.
Bush was supposedly in Alabama between May 1972 and November 1972, but the commanding officer of the Alabama unit says he doesn't remember Bush ever showing up. "Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not," he said. "I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered."
In August 1972 Bush was suspended from flying because he never showed up for his required annual physical.
Bush supposedly returned to Texas in November 1972, but the annual effectiveness report from his Texas unit that covers his entire period of service from May 1972 through May 1973 says "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of the report."
Case closed, right? Bush was AWOL. And for normal people at least, this would have been a serious problem, prompting an official investigation and a transfer to active duty, or possibly even a dishonorable discharge.
But wait. Although there are no records showing that he attended drills in Alabama, there is one piece of evidence demonstrating that Bush showed up for drills after he returned to Texas: the infamous "torn document." Here it is: