Saturday, July 24, 2004

There is a story linked on Drudge's site about the President's missing Air National Guard records. Apparently some of the missing records have been found by the Pentagon. According to the story, the recently located records shed no new light on the time period following his transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard.

This is such a non-issue that words fail me in describing how stupid this "scandal" is. Service in the Guard and Reserves is MUCH different than serving in the active force (trust me on this, I've done both). Excused absences from drills (weekend training) are not uncommon. The absences are supposed to be made up, but they are not always. If a reserve member earns a minimum number of points (50, if memory serves) during a year, they earn credit for a "good" year. A drill weekend is worth four points. Each active duty for training (ADT) day is worth one point. Mobilized days for a war/contingency/emergency are worth one point each as well. I have had years where I did not attend all of my drills. This year will be one of them, as I was deployed for several months. Other years, I have not gotten in all of my ADT days for various reasons. I have had nothing but "good" years since I've been a "weekend warrior".

The fact that records are missing is also much ado about nothing. A friend of mine quit the Army National Guard in a huff when they shorted him several good years in his retirement calculation. He swore that he never missed a drill or an ADT day. He was not dilligent about saving his payroll records (as many people aren't), so he had no way of proving them wrong. When you switch units in the Guard or Reserves (I've done this before, too), the odds of having a records SNAFU increases. The only way I avoided this fate myself was to hand carry my records from my old unit to my gaining unit.

Another point worth noting, while I'm on the subject, is early releases. Guard and Reserve personnel are sometimes granted an early discharge from the unit if circumstances in their civilian jobs or personal lives make it impractical to stay in. They are usually transferred to an inactive status for the remainder of their commitment. My father was released a year early from the Army National Guard when he took a new civilian job that afforded him less time to meet his military obligations. A guy in my current unit was released last year when he obtained employment as a Federal Air Marshall.

If the wannabe Woodward and Bernsteins in the news media really want to make a name for themselves, maybe they should look into alleged UN oil for food program corruption instead of this bogus "scandal".

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