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Les Jensen, Fargo, Published April 07 2013

Letter: Col. Tim Bush made wrong call

In a recent article, Col. Tim Bush commented that his being relieved of command of the 319th Air Base Wing, Grand Forks AFB, was “just, right and fair.” Bush might really believe this, but I doubt it. His being ousted by Maj. Gen. William Bender was not just, right or fair, but rather a result of fuzzy thinking by the U.S. Air Force by making the 39-inch waist size even a part of the physical fitness standard.

The decision is arbitrary and capricious and is indicative of the Air Force’s straying further and further from mission accomplishment as the most important priority for our military forces.

This is not new territory for the Air Force and brings to mind the policies of the early ’70s of sending non-volunteers to Vietnam ahead of volunteers, the recent flap about not recognizing the flight suit as a proper uniform for pilots, and the new medal recognizing the service of RPV operators ahead of pilots flying in combat.

Gen. Curtis Lemay didn’t have a 39-inch waist at the start of World War II, and if this standard had been applied to him, our country would have been deprived of his service as a visionary combat tactician, founding leader of Strategic Air Command, and chief of staff of the Air Force.

So Col. Bush, although I appreciate your gesture of “falling on your sword” for the U.S. Air Force, I don’t have to. Your career has been shortened by a bad decision, and the country is not better for it.


Jensen is retired lieutenant colonel, USAF, and a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 1967.