Soldier-turned-Anti-"Bathroom Bill" Lawmaker (and Cruz Campaign State Chairman) Can't Seem to Keep His Military Record Straight (UPDATE! He's Outta Here!)

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    Jan 29, 2016 2:42 PM GMT
    The one way the GOP loves "standing up for women's rights" is when they pretend they're blocking male poseurs from the restroom. (The next "No Women in Men's Bathrooms!" campaign will be the first.)

    But is one of their so-called champions a poseur himself?


    Seattle TimesIn May of 2014, a dramatic Iraq war photo was posted to the Facebook page of state Rep. Graham Hunt, R-Orting, showing two kneeling U.S. soldiers in desert combat uniforms, one man consoling the other.

    “This picture of me was taken after a mortar attack in 2005,” the post said. “Background has been modified, but I think combat camera captured the moment pretty well. I surely have not forgotten that moment.”

    Hunt is a decorated former Arizona Air National Guard member who deployed to the Middle East. But neither soldier in the picture was him. The image was a doctored version of a 2003 Associated Press photo of two military policemen from Ohio during a deployment near Baghdad.

    The photo was removed several months later, with Hunt saying a campaign volunteer had posted it without his knowledge.

    It’s not the only question to surface regarding Hunt’s descriptions of his military record...

    A self-described “conservative constitutionalist,” Hunt is the Washington state chairman for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. He was one of two Washington state lawmakers who recently visited armed protesters who have seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

    Hunt, 36, was appointed to the Legislature in January 2014 to represent the 2nd Legislative District of south Pierce and Thurston counties. He won election to a full term in November 2014 and is up for re-election this coming fall.

    In the Legislature, he’s been an advocate on veterans issues, leading an effort last year to secure state funding to renovate an old veterans cemetery in Orting. This year, he’s been in the news as a leading opponent of a rule allowing transgender persons to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify...

    Military records show Hunt served in the Air National Guard from 1998 to 2005, assigned to Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base in Phoenix, according to Lt. Col. Belinda Petersen, a spokeswoman with the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Colorado. After 2005, Hunt was a nonparticipating reservist until 2010, when he separated from the military.

    Hunt achieved the rank of staff sergeant and earned several awards. They include a small-arms marksmanship ribbon, the Air Force Expeditionary Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal, according to the personnel center.

    The achievement medal was earned while Hunt was at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia in late 2002 and early 2003 as part of the 363rd Air Expeditionary Wing, according to a copy of the medal citation supplied by Hunt.

    As a senior airman, Hunt worked security, searching vehicles and local workers to screen for threats. “In extreme heat and austere conditions, he ensured stringent security practices at all entry control points,” reads the medal citation signed by Lt. Gen. Walter Buchanan III.

    But the Air Reserve Personnel Center said Hunt’s service record does not indicate he earned the Air Force Commendation Medal — a more prestigious award — or the Iraq or Afghanistan Campaign medals authorized for serving in the U.S. war in those countries...

    Hunt said this past week he’d erred in listing the Iraq Campaign Medal. Describing it as an honest mistake, he said he had in fact earned the Expeditionary Medal for deploying in support of the Iraq war.

    Hunt said he’s frustrated he has been unable to locate documents proving he was awarded the Afghanistan medal and the commendation medal. He declined requests from The Seattle Times to sign a waiver allowing fuller disclosure of his military records, including a complete copy of his DD-214 discharge papers.

    The records disclosed by the personnel center do not say whether Hunt was deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

    They do say Hunt served overseas, including in Saudi Arabia. The records also say Hunt was deployed for a time to a classified location “in support of military operations.”

    Hunt says that referred to missions inside Iraq and Afghanistan. While he said he has a hard time remembering exact dates, he said he was sent to Afghanistan sometime around October 2001 for three or four weeks.

    He says he was sent to Iraq around May 2003 and was in and out of the country several times.

    Asked what units he served with while inside those countries, Hunt said he cannot recall. He said he has not stayed in touch with anyone who could talk about his time there.

    Hunt offered a snapshot of his military records via email. That document said he served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom — the military designation for the global war on terrorism — from December 2002 to June 2003 in a “classified location.”

    Hunt’s achievement medal citation says he was stationed at the Saudi Arabia air base for roughly that same time period. But he says he also was deployed to other countries.

    When asked about where he’d seen combat and suffered wounds, Hunt did not provide details but said he is receiving disability benefits for service-related injuries that he declined to elaborate on.

    Hunt shared a page from a Department of Veterans Affairs benefit claim in which a fellow soldier said Hunt had told him he responded to the scene of an attack on Americans in Saudi Arabia in 2003.

    Hunt said some of his memories of war are painful to relive. “Any veteran who has seen a gunbattle has been wounded,” he said...

    In a similar version of the photo reposted by a Facebook friend, Hunt commented, “picture is from a deployment in Iraq and in the USAF.” The image was again posted to Hunt’s Twitter account as late as September 2014, according to screenshots provided to The Seattle Times...
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    Jan 29, 2016 2:43 PM GMT

    Seattle TimesThe 2003 Associated Press photo actually showed David Borell and Brian Pacholski, both soldiers from Toledo, Ohio, according to a 2011 article in the Toledo Blade. The camera captured Pacholski comforting Borell, who’d broken down after seeing Iraqi children injured while playing with explosive materials.

    On Hunt’s Facebook page, the photo had been altered to remove Army insignias from Pacholski’s sleeve, replacing them with an Air Force staff sergeant patch...

    In January 2015, Hunt posted an apology on Facebook saying he’d received a complaint. “Someone took screenshots and even though I reacted and pulled the post down some people I guess will never forget,” he wrote.

    In recent interviews, Hunt said he hopes to locate records further documenting his military service. “I just need time,” he said, saying such papers might be lost in boxes or at a relative’s house in Missouri.

    But he said he was not sure he’ll find them. He added, “I know where I was. I know what I did. I don’t need it validated.”

    Oh, and make that "WAS" Ted Cruz 2016 State Chairman, until last night. You knew if your past history is too sticky for even Ted Cruz...

    The News Tribune (Kent, WA)
    “I volunteered to step down at the moment, because I don’t want these accusations to be a distraction to the candidate I hope to become president,” Hunt said...

    Hunt’s name and photo have also been removed from the website of the House Republican Organizational Committee, the House Republicans’ campaign arm, despite Hunt being up for re-election this fall.

    As for the GOP's anti-trans bill? It's working it's way through the State Senate.
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    Feb 03, 2016 10:10 PM GMT
    That Dog Won't Hunt, Graham! icon_lol.gif


    Seattle TimesState Rep. Graham Hunt has resigned over accusations he exaggerated his military record and lied about serving in the Marines and being wounded in combat.

    In a statement posted Tuesday evening to his campaign website, Hunt, R-Orting, said “with a heavy heart” he was stepping down immediately, citing “substantial media attention” devoted to “inconsistencies in the records of my military service.” The resignation came after Hunt met with Republican leaders Tuesday afternoon amid mounting allegations against him.

    The Seattle Times first reported last month that military records did not back up Hunt’s claims of serving as a “combat veteran” in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he’d listed three medals on his official biography that the Air Reserve Personnel Center had no record of him receiving.

    The Times also reported on a doctored photo posted on Hunt’s Facebook page in 2014 that falsely claimed to depict Hunt after a mortar attack in 2005. “I surely have not forgotten that moment,” the post written in Hunt’s name said. In fact, the photo showed two U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2003. Hunt has blamed the Facebook post on a campaign volunteer he has refused to name.
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    Feb 03, 2016 10:51 PM GMT
    I'm not sure which is worse, the lie or his astonishing naivety in thinking he would ever get away with it.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4913

    Feb 03, 2016 11:06 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 saidI'm not sure which is worse, the lie or his astonishing naivety in thinking he would ever get away with it.
    Are you crazy? These kinds of stories surface all the time in the GOP. My only surprise is he didn't get away with it.