The George W. Bush military service controversy was an issue in the 2000 presidential campaign and in the 2004 presidential campaign. The controversy centered on questions of how George W. Bush, who would later become the 43rd President of the United States, came to be a member of the Texas Air National Guard, why he lost his flight status, and whether he fulfilled the requirements of his military service contract during the Vietnam War.
National Guard service was widely portrayed as a way to avoid combat
. The waiting list for the Guard at that time was extremely long, and there have been charges that young men from influential families were improperly moved to the top of the list. A similar accusation was leveled at Dan Quayle, who served in the Indiana National Guard, and was Vice President from 1989 to 1993.
According to various media outlets, Bush jumped to the top of a list of over 500 applicants for his position as a pilot despite receiving the minimum passing score (25) on the pilot entrance aptitude test and listing no other qualifications. Other reports indicated that although there were many candidates interested in weekend enlisted duty, there were fewer, if any, people who were both sufficiently educated to qualify for an officer pilot position and willing to commit to the more than one year of full-time service required of Air National Guard pilots.
Ben Barnes, the former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and Lieutenant Governor of Texas, stated under oath that he had called the head of the Texas Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. James Rose, to recommend Bush for a pilot spot at the request of Bush family friend Sidney Adger
. Later, Barnes repeated these claims in an interview with CBS News on September 8, 2004.