Texas National Air Guard grounded George W. for failure to take medical exam


NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2000–As "Fortunate Son," the reissued edition of the controversial best-selling biography of George W. Bush, began arriving last week in bookstores nationwide, Soft Skull Press publisher Sander Hicks released a document from Bush's Texas Air National Guard file which notes that the presidential front-runner was once suspended from flying for failure to take a requisite medical exam.

Bush's 175-page National Guard service records, obtained by Hicks from the Department of Defense through the Freedom of Information Act in January of this year, cite the verbal orders of the "Comdr on 1 Aug 72 suspending" Bush, a 27-year-old first lieutenant at the time, for "failure to accomplish annual medical examination" while stationed at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston.

"It is the timing and the location of the flying suspension for a failure to take this physical that is important," said Hicks, who noted he was recently informed of the identity of the three sources used in Hatfield's Afterword.

"Where was George W. Bush in 1972?" Hicks asked. "Our author, J.H. Hatfield, cites three sources close to the Texas governor in the Afterword to Fortunate Son who state Bush had a cocaine arrest 'fixed' by his father in Houston in 1972. No one has adequately explained why he had a sudden charitable desire to perform community service at Project P.U.L.L., an inner-city youth center. Ironically, government documents note during the same period Bush's flying suspension for failure to take an annual medical examination, even though the Republican presidential candidate has repeatedly stated he was a healthy young man at the time. Combined with the new introduction to the book that cites an on-the-record admission by Michael Dannenhauer, former chief of staff to the elder Bush, that George W. was 'out of control' in his abuse of cocaine and alcohol and experienced 'lost weekends in Mexico' in the '70s, the Defense Department document adds further credibility to Hatfield and 'Fortunate Son.'"

George W. Bush's official explanation of the 1972 flying suspension has been that "his doctor" was in Houston, while he was in Alabama campaigning for Red Blount. However, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Lou Kaposta told Soft Skull Press, "According to my background of many years as a pilot in the Air Force, you have to take the annual physical as scheduled. You do not have a choice about when, where or how. You're in the military, the individual's desires don't count. Everybody knows that."

According to Veteran of the Texas Air National Guard, former Staff Sergeant Mark Wilson, there is "something fishy" about Bush's explanation of the suspension in 1972. Wilson told Soft Skull Press Bush was stationed very near Maxwell Air Force Base at the time of the campaign for Blount, and could have easily traveled there.

Wilson also pointed out that Bush's initial physical exam, while still at Yale in 1968, was done at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts.

Could there have been special circumstances that caused George W. Bush to want to take the physical only with "his doctor?" Hicks asked, questioning whether extenuating circumstances existed that prevented Bush from traveling back to Texas in 1972?

Ironically, the same military document from Bush's service record cites the flying suspension of Major James R. Bath for also failing to take his annual medical examination. In 1977, five years later after serving together in the same Texas Air National Guard unit, Bath, a Houston businessman and aircraft broker with business ties to Saudi Arabia sheiks (including the family of alleged terrorist Osama Bin Laden), invested $50,000 in Bush's first oil drilling company, Arbusto (which means "bush" in Spanish).

Hicks said Hatfield recently took the independent publisher into his confidence by giving him the names of his three anonymous sources, which Hatfield had not revealed to his former publisher or to the media.

According to Hicks, "The three sources are disassociated with each other enough to guarantee accuracy. They tell the same story, and not all three are in the same camp. We know now this is consistent."

A photograph of former President Bush's chief of staff, Michael Dannenhauer, meeting with Reporter Toby Rogers (who co-wrote the new introduction to Fortunate Son) is available at: http://www.softskull.com/gw_media.html, along with a page of the Suspension of Flying Status Report is also available for download.

Dannenhauer was cited by Rogers as the source who related Bush's "lost weekends" in Mexico, where ""There was cocaine use, lots of women, but the drinking was the worst."

Hicks said he has learned that Dannenhauer was recently demoted to a staff position at the George Bush Presidential Library.

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