It gets weirder. ARF is a unit based in Denver. Not Texas or Alabama. Where Bush said he served his guard time. He also has no duty time for his last two years. It appears he was suspended and got out of (or didn't bother to) show up for his last two years. Also important, there still is no record of Bush serving in Alabama. He has maintained he has. Judging from the ARF timeline he never served in Alabama because he was never stationed there. Bush did move to the state to help the campaign of a family friend. There is also still no record that he has flown a mission. If the ARF record, along with the story of his suspension correct then it would seem less likely that he actually flew in the guard. Bush maintains that he did. No pilot has stepped forward and said he flew with Bush. Guard pilots sent to Denver under disciplinary measure were automatically eligible for Vietnam. Apparently, Nam was considered punishment for the patriotic soldiers that had places reserved for them in the guard. There is some debate about the documents in Drum's comments. If Bush would open up his records then this issue could be settled once and for all. If not then the debates against a decorated war hero and protester like John Kerry will be difficult for him. Remember, he said on Meet the Press that he supported the Vietnam war. President Bush: I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way. Russert: But you didn't volunteer or enlist to go. President Bush: No, I didn't. You're right. I served. I flew fighters and enjoyed it, and we provided a service to our country. In those days we had what was called "Air Defense Command," and it was part of the air defense command system. The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me as I look back was it was a political war. We had politicians making military decisions, and it is lessons that any president must learn, and that is to the set the goal and the objective and allow the military to come up with the plans to achieve that objective. And those are essential lessons to be learned from the Vietnam War.
Kevin Drum May Have Broke the AWOL Story George W. Bush got 4 credit points (which are earned for retirement) for serving time on October 29, 1972. He received this on an ARF statement of points earned. What is an ARF statement? I let Drum answer that. The answer, as you can see from the top line, is that it is an ARF document, as is this record from 1973-74. So what is ARF? I asked Bob Rogers, a retired Air National Guard pilot who's been following this for some time, and what follows is his interpretation of what happened. ARF is the reserves, and among other things it's where members of the guard are sent for disciplinary reasons. As we all know, Bush failed to show up for his annual physical in July 1972, he was suspended in August, and the suspension was recorded on September 29. He was apparently transferred to ARF at that time and began accumulating ARF points in October.