Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fact-Checking the GOP: Ted Cruz State Chairman Not the Combat Hero He Claims to Be?

Ted Cruz'
Washington State Campaign Chairman
 Rep. Graham Hunt
The Statements and the Facts:

(Taken from a post on Raw Story)

A Republican lawmaker who is serving as chairman of Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign in Washington state is either unwilling or unable to verify that he is a decorated combat veteran.

State Rep. Graham Hunt (R-Orting), who was elected in 2014...listed three medals on his official and campaign biographies that a military personnel center has no record of him receiving, reported The Seattle Times.

A military spokeswoman pointed out to the newspaper that the personnel center's records are sometimes incomplete--but Hunt has been quietly deleting some details about his service record from online biographies since reporters have begun to press him for more information,

Hunt, who traveled out of state earlier this month to meet with armed militants who are occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge, says he was "wounded in combat" but has offered only vague details about what happened.

The lawmaker said he was knocked down by explosions but can't remember where, and he also claims he cannot remember which units he deployed with to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hunt deleted a Facebook post in 2015 that showed a dramatic photo of a U.S. soldier consoling another that, according to a caption, showed the lawmaker after a 2005 mortar attack...

..."I think combat camera captured the moment pretty well", the post said. "I surely have not forgotten that moment."

The image, however, was an Associated Press photo from 2003 that showed two Ohio soldiers...

The lawmaker deleted references last month to the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal after the newspaper questioned him about the awards--which military officials say do not appear on his service record.

He also stopped describing himself in online biographies as a "combat veteran" of Iraq and Afghanistan...

"Honestly, I don't even care to list any honors or awards I have received, because, frankly I don't think they are important to the public in the first place," Hunt said, after removing details from his bio...

...Military records show Hunt earned an Air Force Achievement Medal for his service in 2002 and 2003 at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a security guard..."in extreme heat and austere conditions."...

...Hunt insists he was sent to Afghanistan...and Iraq...but cannot recall any details or supply the names of anyone he served with there...

...Military records show...there's no record he served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

...The lawmaker said paperwork about his combat service, wounds and medals might be lost or misplaced at a relative's house.

m'eye Verdict:

He says he has medals and combat wounds from Afghanistan and Iraq though the military has no record of his deployment to either country, he can't remember what unit he was in or the actual names of the medals he received, can't remember the names of anyone he served with there.   Hmmmm.   A moment he surely has "not forgotten" is preserved in a photo that turns out to be of two other guys taken two years earlier, and somehow he left all his records at a relative's house where they were lost.  Now he is erasing his claims of military glory from his bio.  

Sounds legit to me.  Okay, maybe not.  In fact, 'maybe not' to the degree that Mr. Hunt earns 4 out of 5 Gops.  I'm holding one back in case his relatives miraculously find all those misplaced records he accidentally left at their house.  The little butt end tacked onto the end is my personal statement about Mr. Hunt's humbleness when he said he didn't "even care to list any honors or awards I have received" right after he erased the list honors and awards he claimed to have received and with which he had been papering his biographies and Facebook page--until someone asked about them.

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