The Command Post
2004 US Presidential Election
August 29, 2004
| DU Bush Ribbon Controversy Erupts into Mainstream


From the Telegraph :

After weeks of denigration of the Democratic challenger’s Vietnam war record, Mr Kerry’s backers have responded with allegations against the President - including the claim that he was once photographed in uniform wearing a medal ribbon he had not earned.

As polls showed that Mr Bush had edged ahead of Mr Kerry for the first time, a pro-Kerry organisation labelled the President an “impostor” over the photograph, taken in 1970 and discovered in his father’s Presidential Library in Houston, Texas.

The ribbon is an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - which was not awarded to the 111th Fighter Intercept Squadron in which Mr Bush served until 1975, five years after the photograph was taken, according to the group US War Report.

“Why is this fraud important? Because it betrays the Honour Code that every officer learns and carries throughout his or her career,” said Walt Starr who investigated the medals for the group.

Mr Starr is also on record as stating about President Reagan :

No reason to feel sympathy. The evil f*** is gone.

From the Democratic Underground ( where Walt Starr is a frequent poster (1000+ posts) and the Primary Source for the story :

Lower Left Hand Corner, it says, and I quote:

“Bush, George W., 2LT

On his AF11 dated May 16, 1971, Bush is listed as a First Lieutenent. That document also only lists his awards as the SAEMR. The AFOUA is NOT listed.

This means, without a doubt, that this photograph had to be taken after September 4, 1968 and before November 7, 1970.

This is damning. - Walt Starr


Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

In 1966, the 147th Combat Support Group earned it’s first Air Force Outstanding Unit Award when it was proclaimed, “The most combat ready of all Air Guard Units”. He was assigned to this unit,He was required to wear the award. - Carene

But also :

Sorry, show me anything in writing, that’s all I ask

Even it written down as being the “custom”.

The Army has regulations covering the temporary wear of Unit Awards.

The California Air National Guard SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITS the temporary wear of ANY Unit Award in CA ANGI 36-2803 Chapter 1, Section 1.4 Definitions, Paragraph 1.14.21 and I quote:

“1.14.21. Temporary Wear. Individuals who were not assigned during the period cited but were subsequently assigned to a unit recognized by a unit award may wear the award only for the duration of his or her assignment. ANG personnel are not eligible for temporary wear.”

I’m still hunting down any regulations regarding this in Texas.

I won’t hold my breath waiting on a regulation citation from those who are offering anecdotal evidence. - Walt Starr

And interestingly,

I’m unsure about when the Texas Service Medal was created
That’s the one for three years.

The Texas Faithful Service Medal has defintily been around since WWII at least as in the Texas law, the Federal Service Medal is newer code than the Faithful Service Medal and specifically mentions dates in 1940.

Bush served officially, according to his ANG22, 5 years, 0 months, and 28 days. If he served faithfully, he should have received that award. - Walt Starr

Unlike most threads on DU, this one contains a lot of exceedingly well-researched facts by Mr Starr on exact regulations (though not neccessarily ones in force at the time), and has many relevant URLs. To decide whether the ribbon (one of three in the 35-year-old picture) was technically worn improperly, you have to go into the finest of details.

Whether this is ‘Damning’ as Mr Starr claims, and even reason for Impeachment (as some DUers are suggesting) is also up to the reader to decide. The controversy itself is worthy of recording though.

Posted by Alan Brain at August 29, 2004 09:05 PM | TrackBack

This is weak. I’ll be surprised if any of the major news outlets pick this up.

Posted by: Lackey [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:05 PM

This is not clutching at straws.

Kerry’s campaign is not melting down.

There is no media bias.

DU is a completely reputable source. is totally “independant” just as the Telegraph describes it.

Dorothy Parker

Posted by: aebrain [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:06 PM

his father’s Presidential Library in Houston, Texas.

It is? Where? I’ve looked and looked and I can’t find it.

And I’m a native Houtonian!

Dang, where is that GHWB Library!!

Posted by: TexasGal [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:14 PM

opps… Houstonian.

Now who was that editor that fact checked this report?

Posted by: TexasGal [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:15 PM

Lackey : Bets?

TexasGal : Anything for a Lady. It’s at Texas A&M. ( Map). Thanks for your good wishes re Brandy, too.

Posted by: aebrain [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:18 PM

Ah you’re welcome AEB, you have been on my mind.. re: Brandy Snap.

Actually I had the privilege of being assigned to the event to plan the dedication and opening of GHWB’s library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

Posted by: TexasGal [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:25 PM

For the Texas-Geographically-Challenged, Texas A&M is not exactly in downtown Houston.
Even this Australian knows that this, one of the (in)famous Universities of the world, is stuck out in College Station, Texas. About 70 km from Houston if memory serves, so by Australian standards, an outer suburb. But not for a crowded place like Texas (same population as Australia, but all crammed into a teeny weeny corner of the continent). By UK standards, it’s like saying the Bodlean Library is in London.

Posted by: aebrain [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:26 PM

Wow! You scooped Drudge — I didn’t think that was possible. Thanks for the heads up.

So is this hello President Cheney? That ought to give the DU brainiacs a strange feeling way down in the pits of their stomachs.

Posted by: ter0 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 10:39 PM


We native Houstonians wouldn’t even call College Station a burb. That’s a pack a lunch trip.

Makes me wonder how anyone found GWB records in GHWB’s Library when they don’t even know where the library is located.

And why would GWB’s records be at GHWB’s Presidential Library in the first place?

Actually, that’s an old “urban legend” that GWB HID his TANG records at his father’s library.


Posted by: TexasGal [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 29, 2004 11:00 PM

Yes, and Bush has campaigned so heavily on his military service record. What a bunch of useless, hysterical crap!

If this is part of a strategy to get Kerry’s Walter Mitty service stories out of the debate, I’m up for that. How about we just look at the last ten years? Of course, Kerry and his operatives would have to quit accusing the President of being AWOL, and I don’t think Kerry has enough respect from anybody to get them to do that.

Posted by: TL [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 12:06 AM

GWB was in the Air Force?

Posted by: bananas [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 12:52 AM

Check it out:

Posted by: Forrest [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 02:08 AM

My thanks for injecting a refreshing note of humour. OK, the execution of the site and joke is a touch on the lame side, but welcome nonetheless, the idea is good. The more Our Political Masters get lampooned, the better.

On that note, you may also want to have a look at this.

I actually found the photo strangely sympathetic. Washing away the world’s cares in an act of creativity, very Zen, and reminding us all that no matter what we may think of them, politicians are after all, human beings. Even George W Bush. Even John F Kerry.

It’s also exactly the type of thing I’d do (and have done) in that position.

Posted by: aebrain [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 02:31 AM

George Bush never called me “baby killer”.

Which is the essence of it for vets. All the rest is “interesting” but not crucial.

Here is another capsule to explain the essence of the vet position. Medals are peripheral.


Steal this sig:

There is a big difference between William Calley and John Kerry. William Calley is a proven war criminal. For John Kerry we only have his word as an officer and a gentleman.

What is the War Hero Afraid of?
Form 180. Release ALL the records.

The Ads: Video links

Posted by: M. Simon [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 03:41 AM

>>George Bush never called me “baby killer”.

Why not?

From AEB - Forrest, You’re now banned. See Terms of Service.

Posted by: Forrest [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 04:06 AM

Oh my GOD!!

This is so HUGE! This is so…relevant!!!

And I can’t believe that the most important, scandalous question has yet to be asked:


The people demand to know!!!!


Posted by: jackson zed [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 12:00 PM

Don’t forget, Bush was also assigned to the 3559th Student Squadron. I haven’t been able to find a unit history on that one.

Realistically, this is a no-biggie. Now, if it’d been a Purple Heart or a Silver Star, I could see the problem with it. But an AFOUA? Nope.

When I got assigned to the 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron lo some decades ago, I was told that since the Squadron had gotten an AFOUA, I could wear one on my blues. It wasn’t an individual award like some, it was a group award - and as part of that group (even if you came after the award had been given) you were entitled to wear it. As an A1C, I knew about as much about 35-10 (or AFR 36-2903 now) as a 2nd Lt, so I got it and put it on my blues - which I never wore anyway…

By the way, where’s his 1st Lt photo? Does it have the same problem?


Posted by: JLL3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 12:24 PM

What a steaming pile of pigeon guano. how desperate can they get?

Posted by: skip [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 30, 2004 03:15 PM

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