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?
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...