you're like a broken record. let's fix that.<quoted text>
Dan Rather Was Right About George W. Bush
Bush had committed to continuing his Guard service with a unit based in Montgomery, but nobody from that unit remembered seeing him, including the commander of the base. As the Globe story reported, Bush's next documented duty in the National Guard was a year later, back in Houston. It seemed that not only had Bush avoided Vietnam by entering the Guard, but he may have simply disappeared for a spell, failing to fulfill his duty to fly planes for a full six years.
The Globe story whipped the national media into a frenzy. The gaps that it revealed in Bush's record - and his campaign's inconsistent and sometimes discredited explanations for those gaps - prompted persistent questions about whether he had gone AWOL or even deserted the military for a time. In particular, reporters zeroed in on a document showing that Bush had lost his flight status in August 1972 for failing to take a flight physical, a serious offense.
...The Bush team knew it had to respond to the stories. Campaign spokesman Dan Bartlett explained that the reason Bush stopped flying in 1972 was that he was in Alabama and his family doctor wasn't available to give him a physical. When it was pointed out that only a military physician could perform a pilot's flight physical, Bartlett's story shifted. He said the Guard was phasing out the F-102 on which Bush had trained, and therefore Bush had opted out of flying altogether. Reporters countered that the plane continued to fly at Ellington Air Force Base until 1974. The Bush campaign tweaked the explanation yet again, saying that the Air National Guard in Alabama didn't have the F-102, so he saw no reason to maintain his flight status during his transfer.
These shifting explanations only intensified the scrutiny and led to questions about what else could have caused Bush's loss of flight status. One possible answer was offered much later, in 2004, by a woman named Janet Linke. After Bush left for Alabama, her husband, Jan Peter Linke, was transferred to Houston to replace him on the F-102, which apparently still needed pilots, despite the phaseout. While the Linkes were there, Bush's former commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, allegedly told them that Bush had stopped flying because he became afraid to land the plane. "He was mucking up bad, Killian told us," Janet said to a Florida newspaper.(Jan Peter died in a car accident in 1973.)
But by the time Linke went public with her allegation, the press had already abandoned the Bush National Guard story for the Dan Rather controversy. Also ignored was some possible corroborating evidence: an Associated Press investigation uncovered Bush's original flight logs, which showed that after flying for hundreds of hours on the F-102, Bush suddenly began flying a two-seat T-33 training jet and spent more time in a flight simulator in the months preceding his departure for Alabama. The logs also showed instances of his having to make multiple passes at the landing strip.