Free Markets, Free People


Apparently CBS Knew Bush Volunteered To Go To Vietnam

That’s what Bernard Goldberg is saying. Yeah, this is ancient history now, but it is also one of the first controversies QandO got involved in up to our necks – the “Rathergate” story. The main part of that story was that CBS had allegedly been provided documents that proved that Bush had gotten preferential treatment joining the Air National Guard to avoid Vietnam, he’d gone awol and, in essense he was a “cowardly draft dodger”.

Of course that all came apart when it was proven that the documents were forgeries done with technology only available well after George Bush’s service.

One of the aspects of that story that sort of got lost in the shuffle was that Bush had volunteered to fly in Vietnam. It surfaced briefly and then, with all the other parts of the story taking on a life of their own, especially those linked to the documents, it was lost in the shuffle.

Goldberg finally read the 234 page report that CBS had an outside panel do about the Rather/Mapes story.

Until now, the controversy over the Rather/Mapes story has centered almost entirely on one issue: the legitimacy of the documents – a very important issue, indeed. But it turns out that there was another very important issue, one that goes to the very heart of what the story was about – and one that has gone virtually unnoticed. This is it: Mary Mapes knew before she put the story on the air that George W. Bush, the alleged slacker, had in fact volunteered to go to Vietnam.

Who says? The outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called “Rathergate” mess says. I recently re-examined the panel’s report after a source, Deep Throat style, told me to “Go to page 130.” When I did, here’s the startling piece of information I found:

Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush “did want to go to Vietnam but others went first.” Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

As I recall Bush flew the F-102, one of the more dangerous aircraft to fly. There were a number of squadrons of the aircraft Bush was flying still in service in the VN theater. But at that time they were being phased out. Bush apparently volunteered but because of the aircraft only those with a certain number of flight hour experience were being accepted. Great round up of the aircraft and its history here.

~McQ

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print
  • Google Bookmarks

18 Responses to Apparently CBS Knew Bush Volunteered To Go To Vietnam

  • “As I recall Bush flew the F-102, one of the more dangerous aircraft to fly. There were a number of squadrons of the aircraft Bush was flying still in service in the VN theater.”

    No, sir: I don’t think so. I would have to go look this up, but I think I recall from my research at the time. I am pretty sure that there were only two squadron deployments of F-102′s in the whole war. There are photographs of Deuces on the ramp at Ton Son Nhut under rocket attack during Tet ’68. There is one recorded air-to-air kill of a ’102 by a MiG-17.

    More review required to confirm: I don’t believe the ’102 was as “dangerous” as, say, the F-100. This stuff is all relative, though. A single-seat, single-engine jet fighter is a very special thing. (Philosophically. They are unique beasts.) Every single flight in one was on some level a death-defying act.

    The thing about the ’102 and Bush’s time it in is that it was a very odd aircraft to try to fit into that war. It was starting to run up against the end of its service life at that point, and the matter is complicate by Johnson’s bombing halt in ’68, which cramped all air operations. There was no way that Bush could have seen that coming. He was trained-up in an essentially dead-end program.

    And I always believed that CBS and the snipers knew about Bush’s effort to get into the fight. It was an obvious element of the story, and I never once saw any of those creeps acknowledge it.

    • Hello Billy,

      A) I agree with you.

      B) I sent you an email last week, do you know if you got it.

      Kind regards, Tom Perkins, ml, msl, & pfpp

    • In fact, F-102 squadrons had been stationed in South Vietnam since March 1962. It was during this time that the Kennedy administration began building up a large US military presence in the nation as a deterrent against North Vietnamese invasion. F-102 squadrons continued to be stationed in South Vietnam and Thailand throughout most of the Vietnam War.

      That’s from the link I provided in the post. There also were 102s based in Okinawa which also saw service in Vietnam.

      According to the Air Force Safety Center, the lifetime Class A accident rate for the F-102 was 13.69 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours, much higher than the average for today’s combat aircraft. For example, the F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14, the S-3 is at 2.6, the F-15 at 2.47, the F-18 at 4.9, and the F-117 at 4.07. Even the AV-8B, regarded as the most dangerous aircraft in service today, has an accident rate of only 11.05 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours

      I have no idea what the F-100′s mishap rate was per 100,000 hours, but clearly the F-102 was a dangerous plane to fly.

      A total of 15 F-102 fighters were lost over Vietnam. Three were shot down by anti-aircraft or small arms fire, one was lost in air-to-air combat with a MiG-21, four were destroyed on the ground during Viet Cong attacks, and the remainder were lost in training accidents.

      Again all of this is from the post I linked.

      • “Again all of this is from the post I linked.”

        I saw it all, Bruce, okay? I’m not impressed. I could type up a bunch of crap on the internet, too.

        “In fact, F-102 squadrons had been stationed in South Vietnam since March 1962.”

        Yeah: that was the 509th FIS at Ton Son Nhut (John T. Smith — “The Linebacker Raids”, p. 25). The other Deuce squadron in the fight was the 82nd FIS (Bien Hoa).

        The 509th was broken to detachments here & there, including Da Nang, Ton Son Nhut, and Don Muang, Thailand.

        “…the lifetime Class A accident rate for the F-102 was 13.69 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours, much higher than the average for today’s combat aircraft.”

        That doesn’t count. The F-102 was a second-generation jet fighter. That was a very florid period of learning and development nothing like today’s environment. A quick scan turned up (at Wikipedia) a reference that calls the Deuce the third-highest Class A accident rate behind the F-100 and F-104. I can believe that.

        Sharpshooter: “The danger in flying the F-100 derived from a couple different sources.

        First, being the first operation supersonic fighter, it necessitated learning a whole new flight envelope that was not fully understood at the time.

        Second, there were several accidents that stemmed from a manufacturing error, a bolt inserted upside-down that caused an aileron to lock in the down position.”

        I believe that the upside-down bolt story comes from the F-86, in fact. I once saw a video in which the great Bob Hoover related that.

        The Hun had a lot of problems. Inverse yaw was a killer when low & slow coming down final approach.

        • Yeah, except it isn’t a “bunch of crap” and you know it. You said yourself there were 2 squadrons in VN. And there was one in Okinawa – so the point that there were “numerous squadrons” in the “VN theater” is correct.

          That doesn’t count.

          Yeah, it does – it was a dangerous aircraft to fly. No claim was made it was the most dangerous, just that it had a record of being dangerous. Its mishap record validates that point.

          • “Yeah, except it isn’t a “bunch of crap” and you know it.”

            Bullsh*t.

            “You said yourself there were 2 squadrons in VN. And there was one in Okinawa – so the point that there were ‘numerous squadrons’ in the ‘VN theater’ is correct.”

            Look: what’s wrong with you? If you stop scratching that reflexive itch of yours and think about it, I’m making your case. The opportunities in the Southeast Asian War Games for ’102 drivers was extremely limited in the manifest fact of how few there were. And I– for one — have no respect for some mushwit who publishes a statement of “a number of squadrons”: real grown-ups do their homework and show it. Get it, Colonel?

            “Yeah, it does.”

            No, it doesn’t, and anyone who wants to compare the accident records of second to fourth or fifth generation fighters is an ignoramus. The proper logical exercise is contrast.

          • Speaking of homework, look up the history of the 64th FIS (based at Clark AFB), 82nd FIS (based at Naha AB, Okinawa) and the 509th FIS (based Clark AB, Philippines and Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam) and tell me what they flew and where they flew them during the VN war. Yeah, I’ll save you the time – all flew 102s and all flew in VN – some stationed there and some rotating in on a regular basis. So again, “numerous squadrons” of 102s were operating in the VN theater as stated. You don’t like how I worded it? TS.

            No, it doesn’t.

            Completely disagree – end of argument as far as I’m concerned.

    • “More review required to confirm: I don’t believe the ‘102 was as “dangerous” as, say, the F-100.”

      The danger in flying the F-100 derived from a couple different sources.

      First, being the first operation supersonic fighter, it necessitated learning a whole new flight envelope that was not fully understood at the time.

      Second, there were several accidents that stemmed from a manufacturing error, a bolt inserted upside-down that caused an aileron to lock in the down position.

      The F-100 was designed as air superiority fighter, being more inherently unstable in the days before computer operated flight controls, while the F-102 and it’s delta wing, was designed SOLELY as an interceptor, i.e., pretty much for speed, and more speed, and still more speed. As such, it was a bitch to land.

  • Rather lied, credibility died.

  • Well, at least Erb has set us straight about the SwiftVets!

  • A couple of things …

    1. I sense an implication (not from you, Bruce) that Bush’s move to volunteer for combat flight duty in Vietnam was cynical because he knew (a) that his jet was being phased out and (b) that he didn’t have enough flight hours to qualify for duty in the war zone. This also seemingly presumes that one can join the Air National Guard and select which flight program you’ll be in. I doubt that’s the case. I also don’t think it’s likely that Bush knew before volunteering that he was short of his flight hours. There certainly no evidence of that.

    Bottom line: Bush volunteered for service in Vietnam and was not sent. Case closed.

    2. I was in the White House Press Corps (working for The Washington Times) when this whole flap was unfolding. I happened to be in the pool on the day the White House first began releasing the official Air National Guard documents, and was among just a handful of reporters to get a look at them. We could only take notes while observing them in one of the press office’s rooms, and I ended up writing a pool report and a story for The Washington Times. I don’t recall many details today — but the documents looked legit and vindicated Bush.

    But more importantly, if memory serves, the controversy at the time was that Bush skirted his duty by not showing up for his required flight training/assignments — and he got away with it because of his political connections. The documents I saw in the White House that day indicated that he did show up for his required flight duties — or if he wasn’t there, he made up for his absences in short order.

    Am I misremembering all this? Wouldn’t be the first time.

    • No cynicism at all. I’m simply pointing out a fact that Bush may or may not have been aware of and which is irrelevant to the point about his volunteering. However I’m guessing the fact that the 102 was being phased out probably kept him from being assigned to fly in VN (and therefore precluded pilots under a certain number of hours from being sent). I have no idea if the phase-out decision had been made before or after he volunteered so I would have no basis for any cynicism.

      He flew a very dangerous aircraft, was apparently a good pilot and volunteered to fly in combat – good enough for me.

      End of story.

      Additionally, we did a tremendous amount of work on this blog on that story and looked at all sorts of documents. We even found a story in the Decatur AL paper in which a retired AF Sergeant remembered Bush from drills in Montgomery during the so-called AWOL period.

      All of this was a put up job in which the usual suspects who had no idea what the documents they were looking at meant or whether they were legit, not to mention understanding how the reserve system works, came to some obviously wrong conclusions.

      This blog among others were able to sort most of that out.

      • Bruce,

        I stated in the first sentence of my post that I was not accusing YOU of being cynical. Maybe I should not have made it a parenthetical so it would have had more emphasis.

        I recall well the work Q&O did on this matter. Though the fact that Bush volunteered to go to Vietnam is a key point — and Mapes purposely withholding that information from viewers is outrageous (I wonder what her book publisher thinks now?) — the accusation was that he went AWOL from his state-side duty. The full documentation, as you point out, proves that is a lie.

        • I may have misinterpreted your point, Jim, but it gave me an opportunity to make it clear to anyone who might actually have thought there was some cynicism in my remark.

  • “…look up the history of the 64th…”

    That’s not necessary. I didn’t mean to confuse you: my references were to units operating from bases in Vietnam (with the 509th detachments elsewhere inclusive).

    “…some stationed there and some rotating in on a regular basis…”

    Rubbish. None of them were operating when Rolling Thunder stood down.

    “…end of argument as far as I’m concerned.”

    Man, that’s the truth. You and I don’t “argue” anymore, just the way I don’t argue with Erb.

    • That’s not necessary. I didn’t mean to confuse you: my references were to units operating from bases in Vietnam (with the 509th detachments elsewhere inclusive).

      I’m not confused, but apparently you are. You need to look up the 82nd FIS as suggested because in 1968 they deployed F-102As to Bien Hoa AB. That would make them a unit “operating from bases in Vietnam”. The same with the 64th who rotated to “bases in Vietnam” from which they operated, per the AF Historical Research Agency (see also below).

      Rubbish. None of them were operating when Rolling Thunder stood down.

      BS. Both the 64th and the 82nd were temporarily sent to S Korea for the Pueblo incident in early ’68. But the 64th returned to its regular operational rotation in VN after that and on through to November of 1969 a full year after Rolling Thunder had stood down.

      Here:

      From April 1962 to May 1963, because of base overcrowding, the limited number of F-102As in South Vietnam rotated back to Clark AB, and between mid1963 and mid-1964, deployments of F-102As to South Vietnam, including training flights to Da Nang and Tan Son Nhut, became commonplace. From August 1964 to December 1966, as U.S. involvement intensified, the F-102As were rotated into and out of Da Nang and Tan Son Nhut. At the beginning of 1967, 12 F-102As were on station in South Vietnam (six at Da Nang and six at Bien Hoa), with another 10 on alert in Thailand (six at Udorn and four at Don Muang). Combined, the 64th and 509th FISs kept 14 F-102As on five-minute alert while the rest were on one-hour call. Deuce operations in SEA ended in November 1969..

      That’s a full year after the end of Rolling Thunder.

      Man, that’s the truth. You and I don’t “argue” anymore, just the way I don’t argue with Erb.

      Gee, I wonder why?

      • You know, that link was very informative, Bruce, and I learned something that I never knew before.

        And I think that tears it: there was room for Bush in SEA after all.

        ‘Gee, I wonder why?”

        It’s because you’re a goddamned stiff, Bruce. You had me fooled for a long, long time, and now all you’re worth is a party-hat for 2010. It’s a disgraced, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.