Urbin Report

Friday, September 24, 2004

President Bush's former TANG commander speaks out.

Colonel Morrisey, TANG, ret. said the following:

"Bush and the others were flying several flights day or night over the Gulf of Mexico to identify the unknown,'' he said. "The Cold War was a nervous time. You never knew. There were other things going on equally important to the country, and the Air National Guard had a primary role in it.''

Morrisey said the commander he worked for at the unit in Texas was sent there to rebuild the image of the unit. There were only two to four pilot training slots given to them per year, he said. Individuals questioned by an evaluation board and then chosen by the commander had to be the best.

"Bush was selected and he turned out just fine,'' he said.

According to Morrisey, after Bush began working as a fighter pilot, he became regarded as one of the best pilots there. Unit commander Col. Maurice Udell considered Bush to be one of his top five pilots, Morrisey said.

"The kid did good,'' he said.

Each pilot had to perform alert duty where they patrolled for unidentified aircraft during the threat of the Cold War, Morrisey said.

"Bush Jr. did good for us,'' Morrisey said. "He pulled alert and he did it all.''

Morrisey said that while Bush didn't get preferential treatment, not everyone was allowed into the National Guard.

"We wanted the best we could get. We never knowingly took an unworthy individual in the units I belonged to,'' he said. "You're only as good your worst individual.''

This isn't the first time a reporter called Morrisey asking whether or not Bush received preferential treatment. Shortly after Republicans nominated Bush for president in 2000, a reporter from Texas called Morrisey.

"That floored me. The only people that got preferential treatment was when Jimmy Carter pardoned those guys that went to Canada,'' he said of individuals who fled to Canada to avoid the draft during the war in Vietnam.