From most accounts, Bush appears to have received
preferential treatment to get into the Air National Guard and avoid the draft
after he graduated from Yale University in 1968. He was initially regarded as a
good pilot, but his performance faded over his final two years in the Guard and
he was suspended from flight status. He did not fly for the remaining 18 months
he served in the Guard, though he was obligated to do so.
significant chunks of time, Bush did not report for duty at all. His superiors
took no action, and he was honorably discharged in 1973, six months before he
should have been.
In a 2002 interview with USA Today, Dean Roome, a former
fighter pilot who lived with Bush in the early 1970s, said Bush was a model
officer during the first part of his career. But overall, he said, Bush’s Air
Guard career was erratic — the first three years solid, the last two troubled.
“You wonder if you know who George Bush is,” Roome said. “I think he
digressed after a while. In the first half, he was gung-ho. Where George failed
was to fulfill his obligation as a pilot. It was an irrational time in his