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Monday, September 27, 2004

Bush Had A Case of Nerves? 

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Janet Linke has been thinking about George W. Bush a lot lately. Thirty-two years ago, her late husband Jan Peter Linke served briefly in the Texas Air National Guard’s 111 Fighter Interceptor Squadron. Bush’s service in the same squadron has gotten plenty of attention in an election year when what you did during the Vietnam War is suddenly a litmus test of character. But Linke claims she knows a part of the story that nobody has mentioned.

According to Linke, a Jacksonville resident and artist, Bush’s flying career was permanently disabled by a crippling fear of flying.

Linke’s husband was admitted to the Texas Guard in the summer of 1972 to replace Bush. President Bush has said that he stopped flying fighter jets because the Alabama Guard unit didn’t have jets, and he wanted the transfer to Alabama in order to work on a political campaign. But Linke says she heard a different story from her husband and Bush’s squad commander, the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. Shortly after her husband joined the Texas unit, Linke says, the couple discussed Bush’s service with Killian at a social event.

Contrary to some news reports that suggest Killian admired Bush, Linke says the officer didn’t have much use for the young lieutenant. He mentioned that Bush appeared to have a drinking problem, she recalls, but he was most offended by another incapacity: his fear of flying. According to Linke, Killian said Bush was grounded in his fourth year of flying after he became incapable of flying or properly landing a plane.





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