Taking issue with Cleveland column

To the Editor:

I generally enjoy reading Michael Cleveland’s column in The Cabinet and have not felt compelled to challenge his facts until I read "Why aren’t we counting deferments?"

His premise being that Dick Chaney and Donald Trump received 10 deferments between them and somehow, George Bush also avoided "military danger."

Bush actually served in the Texas Air National Guard where he flew the F-102 Delta Dagger, a very high-performance interceptor designed specifically to go after Russian bombers that were a threat during the Cold War. Had his unit been flying fighter bombers such as the F-4 Phantom, it is highly likely it would have seen service in Southeast Asia as other Air National Guard units did.

As to Dan Rather and his attempt to kneecap President Bush with a forged document, no movie or any other media format will bring him back from his exile.

Also, there seems to be some misunderstanding about service during the Vietnam Era (1961-73) There were approximately nine million men and women who served during that time frame, and of those, approximately three million were sent to Vietnam. The rest were stationed in the U.S., Korea, Europe, the Philippines and other frontiers of the Cold War. In fact almost 500,000 soldiers (including me), sailors, marines and airmen were serving in Europe in the 60’s as a part of our NATO commitment, so a lot of folks that did not receive deferments, did not end up in Vietnam.

Finally, of all the current Republican candidates that Mr. Cleveland claims did not serve in the military, Rick Perry was an Air Force pilot who flew C-130 cargo planes on active duty.

Thank you for your service Michael.

Jim Coull

Amherst