Friday, September 24, 2004

And You, Sir, Are No Clutch Cargo 

. . . although that flightsuit clutched his cargo pretty tightly, as we recall. But back to business: Suburban Guerrilla and BOP link to a story from an alternative weekly in Jacksonville, FL, about Janet Linke, the widow of the flyer who replaced George Bush in the Texas Air National Guard's 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron:
Contrary to some news reports that suggest [Lt. Col. Jerry] Killian admired Bush, Linke says the officer didn't have much use for the young Lieutenant. He mentioned that Bush appeared to have a drinking problem, she recalls, but he was most offended by another incapacity: his fear of flying. According to Linke, Killian said Bush was grounded in his fourth year of flying after he became incapable of flying or properly landing a plane.

"He was mucking up bad, Killian told us," Linke says. "He just became afraid to fly."

Killian has become a major figure in Bush's unfolding "Guardgate." CBS news anchor Dan Rather produced a memo signed by Killian saying he was pressured to sugarcoat Bush's service, among other things. A few days after the report, CBS backed off when other media questioned the veracity of the documents.

But flight logs released by the White House three weeks ago in response to a lawsuit by the Associated Press show a strange retraction of Bush's air time around that period. In February and March 1972, Bush switched from flying the F102A fighter jet, which the guard used to patrol U.S. borders, to a two-seat T-33 training jet. His superiors also returned him to flight simulator practice sessions.

But records suggest the extra training sessions didn't help. Logs show that in March and April 1972, Bush twice needed multiple tries to land the F102 fighter. Days later, on April 16, Bush piloted a plane for the Texas Air National Guard for the last time.

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