March 04, 2007

Vietnam War: Gore and Bush.

Vietnam War: Gore
Although opposed to the Vietnam War, on August 7, 1969, Gore enlisted in the United States Army in order to participate in the war. After basic training at Fort Dix, Gore was assigned as a military journalist writing for The Army Flier, the base newspaper at Fort Rucker. With seven months remaining in his enlistment, he was shipped to Vietnam, arriving January 2, 1971. He served for four months with the 20th Engineer Brigade in Bien Hoa and for another month at the Army Engineer Command in Long Binh. As his unit was standing down, he applied for and received a non-essential personnel discharge two months early in order to attend divinity school at Vanderbilt University.

The chronology of Gore's military service is:

August 1969: Enlisted at the Newark, New Jersey recruiting office.

August to October 1969: Eight weeks of basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Late October 1969 to December 1970: writer for the Army Flier newspaper at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

January 2, 1971 to May 22, 1971: field reporter in Vietnam, part of the 20th Engineer Brigade, stationed primarily at Bien Hoa Air Base northeast of Saigon.

May 24, 1971: Given an honorable discharge, after his early discharge request was granted. Gore opposed the Vietnam War, but chose to volunteer anyway though he could have avoided serving in Vietnam in a number of ways. A friend of the Gore family reserved a spot for him in the National Guard, which he turned down. Gore has stated that his sense of civic duty compelled him to serve.

Vietnam War: Bush
In May 1968, at the height of the ongoing Vietnam War, Bush was accepted into the Texas Air National Guard. After training, he was assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force Base. Critics have alleged that Bush was favorably treated during his time of service due to his father's political standing, and that he was irregular in attendance. Bush took a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972 to work on a Republican senate campaign, and in 1974 he obtained permission to end his six-year service obligation six months early to attend Harvard Business School, receiving an honorable discharge.

There are a number of accounts of substance abuse and otherwise disorderly conduct by Bush from this time. Bush has admitted to drinking "too much" in those years and described this period of his life as his "nomadic" period of "irresponsible youth". On September 4, 1976, at the age of 30, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150, and had his driver's license suspended until 1978 in Maine.

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