The Los Angeles Times found a similar bending of the rules 26 years later, Phillips writes. George W. didn't qualify for either a direct commission or flight training, but he received both when he jumped several waiting lists for a coveted spot in the Texas Air National Guard.Bush senior was a member of Congress at the time, and, according to Phillips, had a friend speak to Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes about young George. Barnes in turn contacted the commander of the Texas Air National Guard, who greased the way. Direct commissions were generally reserved for doctors because the military needed flight surgeons, and expensive flight instruction was not normally given to somebody like Bush, who didn't score well on the aptitude test for pilots and who had shown no professional commitment to flying. According to Phillips, it was arranged for Bush to train on F-102 fighters, dated aircraft being phased out of serviceadded insurance that Bush would not go to Vietnam.In fairness, Bush has been candid about why he enlisted in the Air National Guard. Like many young men of his generation, he wanted to avoid Vietnam. He told one reporter, "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."
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