We have been inundated with emails today, and we can’t do more than print a small selection to convey what our readers are telling us. Here is another letter from a recently retired officer who asked that his name be withheld, and who is convinced that the 60 Minutes documents are forgeries, because they do not conform to Air Force practice of the 1970’s:
Please allow me to introduce myself: I am — . I retired from the Air National Guard just over a week ago, after serving 34 and one-half years in a variety of enlisted and commissioned officer capacities. I enlisted in the Air National Guard in February 1970, and was trained as an Administrative Specialist. I served in that capacity as an enlisted member (Staff Sergeant) for just over 3 years, during which time I personally typed hundreds upon hundreds of letters in official U.S. Air Force format. I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in August 1973, whereupon I served the remaining 31 years of my ANG career as an administrative officer, personnel and training officer, services officer, and squadron and group commander of support units. During the period of 1974 to 1977, I also served on active duty as an officer instructor at the ANG Professional Military Education Center and Academy of Military Science, the ANG school responsible for training and commissioning new ANG officers. One of my duties was to teach the preparation and proper composition of Air Force correspondence. I give you this background to establish my credibility in matters concerning Air Force letters and official documents.
After researching a number of web sites on the internet to gain as much information as possible concerning the recently “discovered” Texas Air National Guard documents that relate to (then) Lieutenant George Bush, I located and printed two specific documents – one which I consider genuine, and another that is completely bogus and an obvious forgery.
The first letter, which I am convinced is genuine, is dated 5 Sep 73, and is Lieutenant Bush’s request to be discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and subsequently transferred to the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC). This particular letter was obviously typed on a typewriter, and followed the prescribed Air Force formatting standards in place at that time. Specifically, the first three lines of the letter were in the appropriate format: “FROM:” on the first line; “SUBJECT:” on the second line; and “TO:” on the third line. All abbreviations were correctly formatted as well as military rank and title. The endorsement of the 111 FIS commander (Lt Col Killian) was in the correct format, as was his two-line signature element that was left justified.
The second letter, which I believe is being used to establish the premise that Lieutenant Bush either refused or failed to report for a flight physical, is bogus not only because of the proportional font, superscript, and Times New Roman font style (as mentioned in several internet sites and on selected media outlets), but more specifically because of the egregious formatting problems I will now list.
1. The format used in this letter, dated 04 May 1972, which was
allegedly prepared/published 16 months prior to Lieutenant Bush’s request for discharge, is completely wrong, as the letter is formatted in a manner that was not used by the Air Force until the very late 1980’s/early 1990’s.
2. The terminology “MEMORANDUM FOR” was never used in the 1970’s.
3. The abbreviations in this letter are incorrectly formatted, in that a period is used after military rank (1st Lt.). According to the Air Force style manual, periods are not used in military rank abbreviations.
4. The abbreviation for Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) includes periods after each capital letter. Again, periods are not used.
5. In paragraph 1, the phrase “not later than” is spelled out, followed by (NLT). NLT was, and is, a widely recognized abbreviation for “not later than” throughout all military services, so the inclusion of “not later than” was not a generally accepted practice and completely unnecessary in a letter from one military member to another.
6. Lt Col Killian’s signature element is incorrect for letters prepared in the 1970’s. This letter uses a three-line signature element, which was normally not used. Three-line signature elements were almost the exclusive domain of colonels and generals in organizations well above the squadron level.
7. Finally, the signature element is placed far to the right, instead of being left justified. The placement of the signature element to the right was not used or directed by Air Force standards until almost 20 years after the date of this letter.
In summary, I believe the letter used to impugn Lieutenant Bush is an obvious fabrication, prepared on a modern word-processing system by an unscrupulous individual who erroneously used current Air Force formatting protocol instead of the standard letter format directed by Air Force manuals of the 1970’s. Therefore, the letter ordering Lieutenant Bush to report for a flight physical should be discounted in its entirety.
Please feel free to use the facts listed above in any of your web sites if you feel this information is valid and relevant (and I attest to the fact that it is); however, please refrain from using my rank and name.