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Candidates' Military Records Play Role in Campaign


President Bush and his likely Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry, have both seen their military records in the limelight during this year's election campaign. More than two-thirds of the presidents in U-S history have a record of military service, and some voters consider military experience relevant to a president's role as commander-in-chief.

After graduating from Yale in 1966, John Kerry enlisted in the Navy. Two years later, he was promoted to Lieutenant and sent to Vietnam, where he was wounded three times during combat. He received several awards for his service, including three Purple Hearts.

After returning from Vietnam, Mr. Kerry became a vocal opponent of the war. He is also co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

George W. Bush enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard in 1968, shortly after graduating from Yale University. He served as an F-102 fighter pilot and was promoted to first Lieutenant in 1970.

He transferred to the Alabama Guard Unit in 1972, where he also worked on a U-S Senator's election campaign.

His service became a point of controversy early in this election year, when allegations arose that Mr. Bush did not show up for duty in Alabama. President Bush strongly denied the claims, and the White House presented a payroll stub it says proves he completed his service.