General Walter Staudt (or Colonel as he is identified in this article*), named in one of the now infamous Killian memos, says that he never asked anyone to “pretty up” George W. Bush’s record.
"I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to," Staudt told ABC News in his first interview since the documents were made public.
The memo stated that "Staudt is pushing to sugar coat" a review of Bush's performance.
Staudt said he decided to come forward because he saw erroneous reports on television. [SNIP]
"He [George W. Bush] didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard," Staudt said, adding, "I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it ..."As was part of General Staudt’s duty as the commander of his group.
Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen, and added that he never came under any pressure himself to accept Bush. "No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody."[SNIP]
He added that Bush more than met the requirements for pilot training. "He presented himself well. I'd say he was in the upper 10 percent or 5 percent or whatever we ever talked to about going to pilot training. We were pretty particular because when he came back [from training], we had to fly with him."Note that last phrase: “We had to fly with him.” Those of us who have volunteered for *any* military duty know how essential it is for mission accomplishment to build and maintain a competent and cohesive team. If a leader fails to do this, the mission is toast.
If a commander of a fighter-interceptor squadron/group fails to build a proper team, a few flight crews are likely toast as well (literally). (Those who advocate reinstatement of the draft, take note.)
Staudt retired from the Guard in March of that year [eighteen months before the putative date of the memo that mentions his name] and said he was never contacted about Bush's performance.
"There was no contact between me and George Bush … he certainly never asked for help," Staudt said. "He didn't need any help as far as I knew."
He added that after retiring he was not involved in Air National Guard affairs. "I didn't check in with anybody — I had no reason to," he said. "I was busy with my civilian endeavors, and they were busy with their military options. I had no reason to talk to them, and I didn't."
Staudt said he continues to support Bush now that he is president. "My politics now are that I'm an American, and that's about all I can tell you," he said. "And I'm going to vote for George Bush."(Thanks to various bloggers)
*As I understand it, if an officer hasn’t held his/her present rank for a
year certain length of time immediately preceding retirement, he/she will be retired holding the previous rank. I’m pretty sure—but not positive—that this rule applies to enlisted personnel as well. When I retired, I had no reason to check out the particulars of this rule.