One of Jeff’s commenters addresses something else about the infamous memos that had been bothering me: what the heck is an OETR?
As most lifetime civilians who have been following the Bush document story may have gathered, the military is a separate culture. It has its separate laws, separate customs and separate language(s). Indeed, subcultures exist within it. An Air Force person might not know the Army language and vice versa. And let’s not even discuss the inscrutable Navy lingo. For additional culture separation, there are countless separate policies and procedures that may apply to commissioned officers, but not to enlisted personnel. So—having been enlisted--when I saw the acronym OETR, I figured that it was some officer evaluation tool with which I wasn’t familiar. But Pax says that there's a deeper (snicker) reason that I'd never heard of the acronym:
I’m an active duty USAF Lt Col with 19 years in and wanted to add that the OETR/OER/OPR flap is likely just another nail in Dan Rather’s coffin. To clarify: OER (Officer Effectiveness Report...AF Form 707B--Company Grade Officers) was used to describe officer reports until 1988 (my last OER was dated May 88) The acronym OPR (Officer Performance Report, still AF Form 707B--Company Grade Officer) replaced the OER in 1988. Training reports (AF Form 475 since 1983, at least) are called Education/Training Reports and are used for either officers or enlisted personnel. There is no Officer Effectiveness Training Report (OETR) currently nor can I find any evidence that there ever has been. It’s quite likely that whoever concocted this document simply made the erroneous assumption that an Education/Training Report (E/TR or ETR) would have both an officer and enlisted version. Not a bad assumption since performance reports are different for officers and enlisted. It’s just that training reports aren’t!All of the colonel’s form information was found to be correct.
One of the problems with the mainstream media’s fixation on both the Bush and Kerry service is that too few of them ever bothered to get their passports into the strange and different world of the military. As a matter of fact, they ignore the fact that a different culture even exists—the most significant problem here. (To acknowledge that it exists would mean that’d the MSM would have to admit their ignorance of it and why that ignorance exists: not because of simple life/career choices, but because many of them loath and look down upon the military.)
This is why they can’t predict which aspects of either man’s service will bother many veterans and which others will not. And this is why most can’t do a proper “translation” or “interpretation” of military documents and procedures. Imitation is most definitely out of the question, as we've seen in the past few days.
UPDATE: More from Allah (who's blogging like the deity he is).
UPDATE:Marty Johnson writes (here and at Allah's place):
"It [OETR] stands for Officer Education Transcript Repository. In other words, it's a place- NOT and evaluation or a course. (And it has been a place since 1956.)"
So I guess that General Staudt wanted LTC Killian to sugarcoat 1LT Bush's Officer Education Transcript Repository. That's a lot of sugar. (Groaning may commence.)