September 11, 2004
Killian Memo Has Wrong Deadline, Cites Wrong RegulationBy Steve Gilbert
111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
04 May 1972
MEMORANDUM FOR 1st Lt. George W. Bush, 5000 Longmont .8,
Houston, Texas 77027
SUBJECT: Annual Physical Examination (Flight)
1. You are ordered to report to commander, 111 F.L.S., Ellington AFB, not later than (NLT) 14 May, 1972 to conduct annual physical examination (flight)IAW AFM 35—13.
2. Report to 111th F.L.S. administrative officer for schedule of appointment and additional instructions. Examination will be conducted in duty status.
JERRY B. KILLIAN
Besides the typographical problems that many have already raised, there are some questions as well about the memo's actual content.
Para 2—29m, AFM 35—13: 'When a Rated Officer Fails To Accomplish a Medical Examination Prescribed by AFM 160—1 [emphasis added] ...(1)The local commander who has authority to convene a Flying Evaluation Board will direct an investigation as to why the individual failed to accomplish the medical examination. After reviewing the findings of the investigation, the local commander may convene a Flying Evaluation Board or forward through command channels a detailed report of the circumstances which resulted in the officer's failure to accomplish a medical examination, along with a recommendation that the suspension be removed. (2) The individual's major command will forward the report along with the command recommendation to USAFMPC/DPMAJD, Randolph AFB TX 78148 for final determination.'
But according to the AFM 160—1 Bush (like practically everyone else in the Air Force National Guard at the time), was required to get a medical examination every year within 3 months preceding birthday.
President George W. Bush was born on July 6, 1946. So according to the controlling authority (AFM 160—1) he had a window from April 6, 1972 until July 6, 1972 to get his "medical."
But his Lt. Colonel is made out to be entirely ignorant of such details: "You are ordered to report to commander, 111 F.L.S., Ellington AFB, not later than (NLT) 14 May, 1972 [emphasis added] to conduct annual physical examination (flight)IAW AFM 35—13."
It is difficult to believe that anybody——let alone a Lt. Colonel ——would not know the proper regulations to cite. It is also hard to believe he would not know the proper deadlines for such an annually occurring requirement. And of course he would have had ready access to Bush's date of birth.
And yet we are to believe that a Lt. Colonel would take the time to artfully (centered letterhead) type out a memo to order a pilot to take his routine annual "medical"——and that his commander would bother to type it personally.
One would hope that Lt. Colonels in the National Guard would have had better things to do with their time than to give written orders to pilots about such mundane minutia.
FACT: Bush Was Suspended From Flight Duty For Failing To Take Mandated Medical Exam.
On September 29, 1972, Bush was officially suspended from flying for missing his annual medical examination. The orders note that Bush's suspension is authorized under the guidelines presented in Air Force Manual 35—12 Para 2—29m, which reads that Bush's local commander 'will direct an investigation as to why the individual failed to accomplish the medical examination.' [Aeronautical Orders, Number 87, 29 Sept 72; AFM 35—13, Para 2—29m] Where Are The Complete Results Of The Required Investigation Into Bush's Absence From The Exam?
FACT: The order suspending Bush from flight duty stated: 'Verbal orders of the Comdr on 1 Aug 72 suspending 1STLT George W. Bush...from flying status are confirmed...Reason for Suspension: Failure to accomplish annual medical examination. Off will comply with para 2—10, AFM 35—13. Authority: Para 2—29m, AFM 35—13.
111 th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
01 August 1972
Memorandum FOR RECORD
SUBJECT: Bush, George W. Ist Lt.3244754FG
Suspension of Flight status
1. On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination (flight) as ordered.
2. I conveyed my verbal orders to commander, 147th Ftr Intrcp Gp with request for orders for suspension and convening of a flight review board IAW AFM 35—13.
3. I recommended transfer of this officer to the 9921 st Air Reserve Squadron in May and forwarded his AF Form 1288 to 147 th Ftr Intrcp Gp headquarters. The transfer was not allowed. Officer has made no attempt to meet his training certification or flight physical. Officer expresses desire to transfer out of state including assignment to non—flying billets.
4. On recommendation of Harris, I also suggested that we fill this critical billet with a more seasoned pilot from the list of qualified Vietnam pilots that have rotated. Recommendations were received but not confirmed.
Such coincidences might make a cynical person even go so far as to wonder if the Kerry camp wasn't involved in the creation of these memos.
UPDATE: Several readers have kindly pointed out that then, as now, it was customary to allow a grace period for undergoing medical examinations until the end of the birth month. That would be the effective deadline in Bush's case, would have been July 31, 1972.