The Corner

More On Burket

The Retired Texas National Guard Lt. Col who’s accusing Bush of having sanitized his military record has had run-ins with the National Guard before. On December 21, 2001 the Austin-American Statesman reported that Burket was one of the leading “disgruntled” guardsmen to oppose Bush’s appointment of Daniel James III to run the Air National Guard. James is the son of the first four star African-American general was appointed to run the Texas National Guard by Bush in 1997. From the story:

James said he was notified by an Air Force inspector general soon after his Oct. 3 nomination that allegations against him had caused the Air Force to begin a review of his tenure in Texas.

James said he believes at least 10 former Guard members who served under him at Camp Mabry are trying to block his appointment. He blamed years of strained relationships with them. Most of the men did not embrace his leadership when he took the job, he said, and others are angry because they were bypassed for promotions.

Some of the former Guard members acknowledged sending letters protesting the nomination to the Senate Armed Services Committee and filing reports listing alleged incidents of mismanagement with the U.S. Air Force, the supervising authority of the Air National Guard. They declined to provide copies of the reports and letters, as did the Armed Services Committee.

One of the most vocal detractors is Chief Warrant Officer Harvey Gough of Dallas, now retired from 30 years in the National Guard. He has been locked in dispute with James for at least two years, culminating with a lawsuit Gough filed against James in a Travis County court in January 2000. Gough alleged he was subjected to ethnic slurs in 1998 by members of James’ staff and accused James of retaliating against him by court-martialing him for insubordination without an appeal hearing.

The suit was dismissed earlier this year after a judge said Gough’s complaint belonged in military review boards. That decision is being appealed.

Gough said that when he learned of James’ nomination, he quickly mobilized other disgruntled soldiers. One is Lt. Col. Bill Burkett of Abilene, who acknowledged that he sent two letters to the Air Force and the Armed Services Committee.

Burkett also has a lawsuit against James on appeal, alleging that Guard officials prevented him from getting medical care at Dyess Air Force Base near his home when he returned from a mission in Panama because of a management audit report he filed.

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