With regard to the specific allegations surrounding Bush's failure to take the required physical, White House officials have said the requirement was waived when Bush was transferred to non-flying status in Alabama.
She claims that it was General Staudt, not Lt. Col. Hodges that was applying the pressure to Lt. Col. Killian to whitewash Bush's record concerning his not taking the physical. - Drudge Interview

Hadn't Gen. Staudt retired by that time?

First she said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others.

She later told the NY Times:"We did discuss Bush's conduct and it was a problem Killian was concerned about," Mrs. Knox said. "I think he was writing the memos so there would be some record that he was aware of what was going on and what he had done."

Now she's gone on record to say she decided to report her recollection of the time period to the media after hearing White House press officials say the information in the memos was false.

 She JUST SAID HE WROTE A MEMO ORDERING HIM TO TAKE A PHYSICAL!! SHE'S ACCEPTING THAT THESE MEMOS ARE GENUINE!!

And I love the look on Blather's face as she talks about the physical that every man had to have ON HIS BIRTHDAY>>> Hello!!!!!.. this memo was not even close to his birthday. She had not seen these memos. So she wants us to believe someone, who knew about them, wrote them in such a way as to hide their identify.. SO WHAT THE HELL IS TRUE ABOUT THESE MEMOS?!?!!

she decided to report her recollection of the time period to the media after hearing White House press officials say the information in the memos was false.

Evidence of coaching, right there. Or bias. The WH hasn't made a comment one way or the other regarding these documents, other than Laura's comment that she thought they were forgeries.

She's already said that Bush was "selected"; not elected.

He just asked her if she thought W got in because of who he was, she said that she knew OTHERS did so why not W?? Feels, but no first-hand knowledge.

JUST SAID HE WROTE A MEMO ORDERING HIM TO TAKE A PHYSICAL!! SHE'S ACCEPTING THAT THESE MEMOS ARE GENUINE

Would the order come from him anyway? Plus the fact his birthday is July 6, so he doesn't need a physical in May.

Bush seemed to be having a good time; he didn't seem to be having any problems with the other pilots.

His time there -- the other fellows there were sort of resentful for his attitude!

Oh, this is great.........she's REALLY embellishing this.....last week she said she didn't know anything about Bush.

She is saying that Killian started a file SPECFICIALLY to keep notes about how he felt about Bush's attitude and actions!

GWB didn't have to go by the rules. "It 'felt' that way to me," she said.

[This is all conjecture based on her impressions and feelings. Move over Kitty Kelly.]

Brit Hume said tonight on his show that a Vietnam ear pilot called him today and said it was UNHEARD of that a pilot would be ordered to take a physical; that all pilots knew that they had to take one on their birthday!

Knox said that she didn't recall typing a Killian memo alleging that a commander, Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt, was pressuring officers to "sugar coat" Bush's record. But she said that Staudt's larger-than-life dominance of the unit would have been reflected in Killian's personal files. She added, though, that there's no way Staudt could have exerted that influence after he retired.

Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others.

And tonight she talked about how nice Bush treated her. She was lying her ass off.

1. She's contradicted herself. She originally said she had absolutely no recollection of Bush himself. Now she's full of anecdotes. Today's Houston Chronicle lists the contradiction:

"Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others." - http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2796630

2. Knox is a rabid Bush hater. She told the Drudge Report yesterday that he was "selected, not elected" just like the radical left.

3. Knox is a partisan Democrat. I just ran her name on the public voter registration database. She's voted in every Democrat primary since 1994 except for one year when she didn't vote. That's as far back as the list goes electronically.

4. Knox has directly contradicted Killian's son and wife, who both say that Killian did not keep files of that sort.

5. (Incidental) Knox is clearly very senile in the Rather interview and was being led all over the place by Dan to get her to say what he wanted her to say.


 

(With regard to the specific allegations surrounding Bush's failure to take the required physical, White House officials have said the requirement was waived when Bush was transferred to non-flying status in Alabama.

Knox said she decided to report her recollection of the time period to the media after hearing White House press officials say the information in the memos was false.)xxx

Just for the record, did Knox actually say that she typed a memo in which Killian ordered Bush to take a physical, which he was past due to take?

No, she did not.

But it hasn't occurred to her OR Rather that the physical wasn't due for two months. Why would he be ordering him to take a physical before it was due? CBS wants to press the issue that Bush violated a direct order to take a physical...but we have already read good arguments that such an order would not have been given under the circumstances that appeared to exist in 1972 (the deadline was not for another 2 months).

Knox, 86, who spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events, said she is not a supporter of Bush, whom she deemed "unfit for office" and "selected, not elected." from The Dallas Morning News

As the Houston Chronicle noted:

Knox said she decided to report her recollection of the time period to the media after hearing White House press officials say the information in the memos was false.
Did anyone in the White House say this? I thought they were standing with their rote response, "The President was honorably discharged... The President was honorably discharged..."

Further down, we read:

Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others.
But she told The New York Times: "We did discuss Bush's conduct and it was a problem Killian was concerned about," Mrs. Knox said. "I think he was writing the memos so there would be some record that he was aware of what was going on and what he had done."

One week she's saying she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's service, the next she's saying she discussed it with Killian.

Knox also claims in the Houston Chronicle Killian "kept copies to protect himself," contradicting the widow and the son. She says Killian didn't type, that she typed for him - but says she never typed a memo like this. So how did a memo "like this, in this vein, reflecting these opinions," etc. get created? Her contention that the memos reflected Killian's opinion seems more like an assertion or wishful thinking than anything supported by the rest of the facts. Remember, in the verified documents, Killian says nice things about Bush.

Knox said that she didn't recall typing a Killian memo alleging that a commander, Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt, was pressuring officers to "sugar coat" Bush's record. But she said that Staudt's larger-than-life dominance of the unit would have been reflected in Killian's personal files. She added, though, that there's no way Staudt could have exerted that influence after he retired. 

The Oct 2000 George Magazine interviewed Staudt. He very firmly denied any influence at that time.

Gary Killian on H&C saying Knox was not his dad's personal secty but rather worked for many and wouldn't have the information or insights into his dad. Darn, Sean interrupted instead of letting him finish.

He didn't take the physical because he was apparently not going to fly. It even says so in the memo.

You kinda noticed her constant use of "opinion words" not strict statements....The attorneys must have sat with her for a long time during rehearsal. She made sure she inserted a non-committal word with almost every sentence.

GWB was not "transferred" to Alabama Guard. He was still with TANG, and paid by TANG.

He was merely given the courtesy of being allowed to attend drills there while he was away from base in private employment while in the reserves and so be able to earn points toward his obligation in Alabama.

He couldn't "miss" drills there. He couldn't be AWOL there.

 

Bush Guard Service, The True Story
Written by Gordon Bloyer
Thursday, August 26, 2004

(excerpt)


The following is from a letter by Col. William Campenni Ret. published in the Washington Times.

There was one big exception to this abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2˝˝ years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren't getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys. The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush's tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one's life.

Marion Knox's statements prove the documents are forgeries and not even factually correct. Dan Rather again showed his bais by not following up on the statement.

Marion Knox alleged that the forged docuemnts facts were accurate.

The May 4, 1972 forged document is a total fabrication as proven by her own testimony. It is this document that alleges that Colonel Killian ordered Lieutenant Bush to report for Annual Physical Examination for flight clearance by May 14, 1972.

However, Marion Knox clearly indicated in her interview with Dan Rather that Lieutenant Bush had until his birthday to get the medical exam completed. President Bush's birday is July 7th. As such, Dan Rather is screwed again and clearly knows it as he refused to follow up on her statement.

Marion Knox also stated that Killian was upset because President Bush refused an order to complete his medical exam. On what date is she alluding this order was given? Dan Rather again fails to ask any question that could bury him.

Remember know that Ms. Knox claims the forgeries are factually accurate.

Per the admitted forgery of May 19, 1972, Colonel Killian and Lieutenant Bush discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November. The memo also noted a discussion about getting Bush's flight physical situation fixed before his date (As Admitted by Ms. Knox to Dan Rather, this was July 7, 1972) This confirms again the exam was not required by the regulations in May of 1972. The forgery also notes that Bush says he will do his exam in Alabama if he stays in a flight status in Alabama.

The forgery continues that Bush has been working with staff to come up with options and identified a unit that may accept him. Contradicting what Ms. Knox said, the forgery then notes that Colonel Killian told Bush he had to have written acceptance before he would be transferred.

Bush was asked in 1972 to work for an Alabama Senate campaign. On May 24, 1972, Bush filled out a form requesting a transfer to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Montgomery, Alabama.

This unit had no planes and minimal duties. On May 26, 1972, Reese H. Bricken, commander of the 9921st, wrote to Bush to tell him that his application had been accepted.

Commander Bricken said in an interview with the Boston Globe, "We met just one weeknight a month. We were only a postal unit. We had no airplanes."

In fact, Air Reserve Force members, while not required to perform actual duty, could be drafted for the Vietnam war under the Obligated Reserves Section (ORS).

This is why Bush did not need to have a medical exam for flight clearance in May of 1972. Even the forged document prove this fact and totally discredits Ms. Knox, but Dan Rather refused to follow up on this point.

Dan Rather is so bias that he cannot even see the forgeries support that Bush and discredit his story. Bush had approval to not take the physical and explain why there is not gaurd duty from May to Novemebr 1972 time frame.

In fact, Bush's pay records from Alabama are Air Reserve Force records and other documents released confirm this transfer. Dan Rather refuses to discuss this fact.

The alleged forgeries and known Bush records shows that Ms. Knox claims are factually incorrect because Colonel Killian approved the transfer. However, Denver higher-ups retracted the approval. The Denver retration did not occur until July of 1972.

On July 21, 1972, the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver ruled against Bush's reassignment to Alabama, and noted that as "an obligated Reservist" he could only be "assigned to a specific Ready Reserve Position."

By the time Bush was notified of this, he had already missed the July 7th(Bush's Birthday - Note others claim the drop dead date is 3 months after Bush's birday) drop dead date for his physical. If the transfer to the non-flight unit had not been overturned, Bush did not need clearance to fly. The unit had no planes.

Again, Dan Rather is so bias that he cannot even see the earlier dated forgery and the next forgery support discredit Ms. Knox. Bush had approval to not take the physical and Colonel Killian approved a transfer to a that had no reporting requirement.

If Ms. Knox's memory is even correct about memo's being factually accurate, then she has her dates confused per the August 1, 1972 Forged Document. In this forgery, Colonel Killian notes that he recommended Bush for transfer to 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in May of 1972. Colonel Killian also notes the transfer was not allowed. Colonel Killian also notes that he has ordered that Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to meet annual physical examination for flight clearance as ordered. However, Dan Rather refuses to ask this question of MS. Knox snce it would again cause his story a problem since it confirms that no exam was required in May of 1972.

Bush's known records show that Bush did not receive a written order of the transfer being over ruled until September of 1972. Dan Rather again ignores this fact!

On September 5, 1972, Bush requested permission to "perform equivalent duty" at the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery "for the months of September, October, and November," and he quickly received approval to do so.

Bush's records show that he was paid for service on October 28-29 and November 11-14 of 1972. Bush received a dental examination at Dannelly in Alabama on January 6, 1973. Pay sheet summaries indicate service from January 4-6 and 8-10 of 1973. Pay sheet summaries indicate service from January 8-10 and April 7-8 and May 1-3 and May 8-10 and May 19-20 and May 22-24 of 1973.

On May 2, 1973, Bush's immediate superiors conducted an annual performance review covering the period from May 1, 1972 to April 30, 1973, which stated that "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of the report."

This should be no suprise since he was assigned to 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Montgomery, Alabama from May 26, 1972 to September 5, 1972 and that Bush had been in Alabama 187th since September of 1972.

Clearly Lt. Col. William D. Harris Jr. and Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian were aware of this and wrote in May of 1972: "A civilian occupation made it necessary for him to move to Montgomery, Ala. He cleared this base on 15 May 1972 and has been performing equivalent training in a non-flying status with the 187 Tac Recon Gp. Dannelly ANG Base, Alabama."

According to the other Forged Document dated August 18, 1973: Colonel Killian notes Bush wasn’t here during rating period and I don’t have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. Colonel Killian refused to rate Bush for May 1972 to May 1973.

More proof of Dan Rather's bias is shown by the August 18, 1973 forgery. This forfery is not even consistent with the August 1, 1972 forgery. It makes no mention of Bush's assignment to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron from May of 1972 to September of 1972 which is clearly acknowldged in the earlier forgery.

Additionally, Dan Rather's bias is shown by Bush's known records in September of 1973.

On September 5, 1973, Bush requested discharge from service, to be effective on October 1. He wrote, "I am moving to Boston, Massachusetts to attend Harvard Business School as a full time student."

Apparently know understanding Bush's assignments and actual duty in 1972 and 1973, Colonel Killian recommended approval of the discharge the following day.

Dan Rather showed his bias reporting again by never mentioning this fact. Nor does he ever mention the even more important facts that follow.

Bush was only required to complete 50 credits per year, not fulltime service. Bush had completed all the required credits for his six years of service in five years, four months, and five days.

Bush was honorably discharged from the Texas Air National Guard on October 1, 1973.

Bush was immediately transferred to the inactive reserves in Denver, Colorado, and then discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974.


 

 

 

 

 

Letters to the Editor

'Bush and I were lieutenants'
George Bush and I were lieutenants and pilots in the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), Texas Air National Guard (ANG) from 1970 to 1971. We had the same flight and squadron commanders (Maj. William Harris and Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, both now deceased). While we were not part of the same social circle outside the base, we were in the same fraternity of fighter pilots, and proudly wore the same squadron patch.

It is quite frustrating to hear the daily cacophony from the left and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, et al., about Lt. Bush escaping his military responsibilities by hiding in the Texas ANG. In the Air Guard during the Vietnam War, you were always subject to call-up, as many Air National Guardsmen are finding out today. If the 111th FIS and Lt. Bush did not go to Vietnam, blame President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, not lowly Lt. Bush. They deliberately avoided use of the Guard and Reserves for domestic political calculations, knowing that a draftee only stirred up the concerns of one family, while a call-up got a whole community's attention.

The mission of the 147th Fighter Group and its subordinate 111th FIS, Texas ANG, and the airplane it possessed, the F-102, was air defense. It was focused on defending the continental United States from Soviet nuclear bombers. The F-102 could not drop bombs and would have been useless in Vietnam. A pilot program using ANG volunteer pilots in F-102s (called Palace Alert) was scrapped quickly after the airplane proved to be unsuitable to the war effort. Ironically, Lt. Bush did inquire about this program but was advised by an ANG supervisor (Maj. Maurice Udell, retired) that he did not have the desired experience (500 hours) at the time and that the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.

If you check the 111th FIS records of 1970-72 and any other ANG squadron, you will find other pilots excused for career obligations and conflicts. The Bush excusal in 1972 was further facilitated by a change in the unit's mission, from an operational fighter squadron to a training squadron with a new airplane, the F-101, which required that more pilots be available for full-time instructor duty rather than part-time traditional reservists with outside employment.

The winding down of the Vietnam War in 1971 provided a flood of exiting active-duty pilots for these instructor jobs, making part-timers like Lt. Bush and me somewhat superfluous. There was a huge glut of pilots in the Air Force in 1972, and with no cockpits available to put them in, many were shoved into nonflying desk jobs. Any pilot could have left the Air Force or the Air Guard with ease after 1972 before his commitment was up because there just wasn't room for all of them anymore.

Sadly, few of today's partisan pundits know anything about the environment of service in the Reserves in the 1970s. The image of a reservist at that time is of one who joined, went off for six months' basic training, then came back and drilled weekly or monthly at home, with two weeks of "summer camp." With the knowledge that Mr. Johnson and Mr. McNamara were not going to call out the Reserves, it did become a place of refuge for many wanting to avoid Vietnam.

There was one big exception to this abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2˝ years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren't getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys.

The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush's tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one's life.

Critics such as Mr. Kerry (who served in Vietnam, you know), Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore (neither of whom served anywhere) say Lt. Bush abandoned his assignment as a jet fighter pilot without explanation or authorization and was AWOL from the Alabama Air Guard.

Well, as for abandoning his assignment, this is untrue. Lt. Bush was excused for a period to take employment in Florida for a congressman and later in Alabama for a Senate campaign.

Excusals for employment were common then and are now in the Air Guard, as pilots frequently are in career transitions, and most commanders (as I later was) are flexible in letting their charges take care of career affairs until they return or transfer to another unit near their new employment. Sometimes they will transfer temporarily to another unit to keep them on the active list until they can return home. The receiving unit often has little use for a transitory member, especially in a high-skills category like a pilot, because those slots usually are filled and, if not filled, would require extensive conversion training of up to six months, an unlikely option for a temporary hire.

As a commander, I would put such "visitors" in some minor administrative post until they went back home. There even were a few instances when I was unaware that they were on my roster because the paperwork often lagged. Today, I can't even recall their names. If a Lt. Bush came into my unit to "pull drills" for a couple of months, I wouldn't be too involved with him because I would have a lot more important things on my table keeping the unit combat ready.

Another frequent charge is that, as a member of the Texas ANG, Lt. Bush twice ignored or disobeyed lawful orders, first by refusing to report for a required physical in the year when drug testing first became part of the exam, and second by failing to report for duty at the disciplinary unit in Colorado to which he had been ordered. Well, here are the facts:

First, there is no instance of Lt. Bush disobeying lawful orders in reporting for a physical, as none would be given. Pilots are scheduled for their annual flight physicals in their birth month during that month's weekend drill assembly — the only time the clinic is open. In the Reserves, it is not uncommon to miss this deadline by a month or so for a variety of reasons: The clinic is closed that month for special training; the individual is out of town on civilian business; etc.

If so, the pilot is grounded temporarily until he completes the physical. Also, the formal drug testing program was not instituted by the Air Force until the 1980s and is done randomly by lot, not as a special part of a flight physical, when one easily could abstain from drug use because of its date certain. Blood work is done, but to ensure a healthy pilot, not confront a drug user.

Second, there was no such thing as a "disciplinary unit in Colorado" to which Lt. Bush had been ordered. The Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver is a repository of the paperwork for those no longer assigned to a specific unit, such as retirees and transferees. Mine is there now, so I guess I'm "being disciplined." These "disciplinary units" just don't exist. Any discipline, if required, is handled within the local squadron, group or wing, administratively or judicially. Had there been such an infraction or court-martial action, there would be a record and a reflection in Lt. Bush's performance review and personnel folder. None exists, as was confirmed in The Washington Post in 2000.

Finally, the Kerrys, Moores and McAuliffes are casting a terrible slander on those who served in the Guard, then and now. My Guard career parallels Lt. Bush's, except that I stayed on for 33 years. As a guardsman, I even got to serve in two campaigns. In the Cold War, the air defense of the United States was borne primarily by the Air National Guard, by such people as Lt. Bush and me and a lot of others. Six of those with whom I served in those years never made their 30th birthdays because they died in crashes flying air-defense missions.

While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico. We were the pathfinders in showing that the Guard and Reserves could become reliable members of the first team in the total force, so proudly evidenced today in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It didn't happen by accident. It happened because back at the nadir of Guard fortunes in the early '70s, a lot of volunteer guardsman showed they were ready and able to accept the responsibilities of soldier and citizen — then and now. Lt. Bush was a kid whose congressman father encouraged him to serve in the Air National Guard. We served proudly in the Guard. Would that Mr. Kerry encourage his children and the children of his colleague senators and congressmen to serve now in the Guard.

In the fighter-pilot world, we have a phrase we use when things are starting to get out of hand and it's time to stop and reset before disaster strikes. We say, "Knock it off." So, Mr. Kerry and your friends who want to slander the Guard: Knock it off.

COL. WILLIAM CAMPENNI (retired)
U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard
Herndon, Va.5

OCTOBER 3, 2000 : (TEXAS : BEN BARNES, ROBIN RATHER & SIX OTHERS SPONSOR A FUNDRAISER FOR RONNIE EARL - ROBIN RATHER IS THE DAUGHTER OF CBS NEWS' DAN RATHER) Kerry Spot reader Frank observes that on October 3, 2000, Democrat Ronnie Earle hosted a fundraiser for his race for District Attorney. The event had eight sponsors. One of them was Ben Barnes, the star of 60 Minutes II’s report on President Bush’s National Guard years.
Another one of the eight sponsors was Robin Rather, daughter of Dan Rather, an Austin-area “ passionate environmentalist and community activist” who has given $12,500 to Democratic causes in the last three election cycles, including $1,000 to John Kerry on March 15 of this year.
One wonders… by any chance, did Robin Rather introduce her father to Ben Barnes? --- "BARNES AND ANOTHER RATHER, MEETING EARLIER...," Kerry Spot/NRO, 9/12/04

1) Rather mentions Ben Barnes in the opening and fails to disclose Barnes' ties to the Kerry campaign, misleading people who did not see the original piece

2) Rather made no mention of Amy Barnes' (Ben's daughter) statements that her father's statements on the 60 Minutes piece are politically motivated

3) In Rather's introduction, he says: "The woman who describes herself as Colonel Killian's right hand during much of the 1970s, Marianne Carr Knox, Colonel Killian's secretary, flew to NY this afternoon to tell us she believes the documents we obtained are not authentic. But, there is yet another confusing twist to this story. She told us, she believes what the documents actually say, is exactly as we reported." I find this last sentence to be a ludicrous, nonsensical statement. To paraphrase "Knox tells us that we accurately reported the falsified documents".

4) Neither Rather nor Knox disclosed Knox's political affiliation, nor was there mention of Knox's earlier statements to the press that Bush was "selected not elected" and unfit for the Presidency. Rather calls her a "credible voice".

5) Rather neglected to question Knox on the fact that Staudt was long gone by the date of the memo referring to him

6) Knox put no dates on any of the statements she made, and Rather asked her from no timeline

President Bush's Former Commander: "He was an asset"
LAST UPDATE: 9/12/2004 7:21:49 AM

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (AP) - The story goes that Col. Walter Staudt was so happy to have George W. Bush in his Texas Air National Guard unit in 1968 that he staged a pair of welcoming ceremonies to have his picture taken with the aspiring fighter pilot.

But these days, Staudt, a retired air guard commander, isn't talking about any role he may have played in getting the future president a coveted pilot slot in Houston, far from the war in Vietnam.

"I don't give interviews," Staudt gruffly told The Associated Press this week while peeking through a narrowly opened door of his home in an upscale subdivision in this city near San Antonio. "Goodbye. You're bothering me."

Other attempts to contact him over a three-day period were also unsuccessful.

Over the past 16 years, however, Staudt has been quoted on the subject in a number of major newspapers and at least one book. He has been consistent and often colorful in his basic messages: George W. Bush was a fine pilot and no strings were pulled to get him into the Texas guard.

In March, the 81-year-old ex-general had this to say to the Spokane Spokesman-Review about the president: "I love the guy. I'm so tired of this negative crap about him."

Six years ago, the Washington Post attributed these words to Staudt regarding Bush and his route into the air guard: "I'll tell you, he was an asset. ... Anyone who suggests there was family influence to get him in is a damn liar."

Staudt's part in the long-playing issue of Bush and his air guard service resurfaced in a recent report on CBS' "60 Minutes II."

The news segment that aired Wednesday was based on four memos, the authenticity of which have since been questioned. The memos attributed to Jerry Killian, a now-deceased officer who in the early 1970s commanded Bush's squadron at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston.

"Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush," read in part a memo dated Aug. 18, 1973. "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job. Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate."

Bobby Hodges and William Harris were lieutenant colonels at Ellington in the early 1970s. OETR, or officer efficiency training report, is a performance evaluation and Grp refers to a military unit, possibly the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group that Staudt once commanded and in which Bush served.

Hodges could not be reached for comment Saturday. Harris is deceased.

Also mentioned in the memo is the 187th Tactical Reconnaisance Group, the Alabama air guard unit to which Bush was assigned in 1972 while working on a Senate campaign in that state. Questions persist as to whether Bush fulfilled his guard duties in Alabama.

Doubts have been raised about the validity memos, with at least one document expert suggesting that they may have been produced by computer programs that hadn't been invented at that time. And The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday that Staudt retired from the air guard more than a year before the relevant memo was reportedly written.

Robert Strong, who knew Killian and served in the air guard at the same time as Bush, called Staudt "the quintessential macho fighter pilot" who used to brag about having Bush and other prominent Texans under his command.

"He would show them off - they were almost like trophies," Strong, now a college professor in Austin, said in a Friday interview.

Going back to at least 1988, when George H.W. Bush was running for president, Staudt has been fielding the calls asking whether George W. Bush and other Texas sons of privilege were given preferential treatment.

"There wasn't any hanky-panky that went on there," Staudt told the Los Angeles Times during the summer of 1988.

Eleven years later, when Bush was Texas governor, the Times got a snarlier answer to the same question: "Nobody did anything for him. ... Neither his daddy nor anybody else got him into the guard