1LT Bush, GW, Texas Air National Guard, was ordered by his superior officer to take a flight physical. He intentionally failed to comply. He was suspended from flight status for that refusal. The superior who issued the order and the suspension asked for authority to convene a Flight Status Board, but there is no record of any such authority having been granted.
Disobedience of a direct lawful order from a superior is a violation of § 432.135 of the Texas Code of Military Justice, subjecting the offender to be “punished as a court-martial directs.” (That’s perfectly parallel to the definition and punishment of the same offense by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which would have covered someone on active duty but wouldn’t have covered 1LT Bush, a Guard officer.)
He then received an honorable discharge, and has claimed ever since that the discharge proves that he served honorably. That claim is false. He failed to serve, and failed in a manner — refusing a direct order — that made him legally subject to trial, conviction, and imprisonment.
He got away with it, that’s all. And he’s been getting away with lying about it ever since.
Is this where the getting away comes to an end?
Update: Kevin Drum asks some good questions:
And finally, why did he get an honorable discharge anyway?
Niggling note The on-line Texas statutes shows the law in question as becoming effective sometime in 1987. Not having ready access to old Texas statutes, I’m prepared to bet heavily that the legislature didn’t suddenly decide in 1987 to make disobeying a lawful order a crime; that is, after all, the entire basis of military discipline. But someone arguing in a formal legal context (a pleading, brief, or law review article) that the disobedience was a crime would be well advised to look up the statute as it existed in 1972.
Updated niggling note Reader Kenneth Fair has found the statute in force in 1973.
Texas Revised Civil Statues art. 5788, section 1015:
Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer
Sec. 1015. Any person subject to this Code who:
(1) Strikes his superior commissioned officer or draws or lifts up
any weapon or offers any violence against him while in the execution of his office; or
(2) Willfully disobeys a lawful command of his commissioned officer;
shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
See Acts 1963, 58th Leg., p. 209, ch. 112, §1.
Update and possible correction Apparently CBS is the only source of the documents; the White House merely released copies of what it got from CBS. The authenticity of those documents is now being challenged, though CBS is standing behind them.