Re: “Lawmaker’s military service details hazy” (TNT, 1-25).
Thank you for reporting the service record embellishments by state Rep. Graham Hunt, R-Orting. As both a Vietnam combat veteran (Combat Medical Badge, Purple Heart) and a volunteer veteran’s service officer, I find it disturbing that veterans find it necessary to overstate the nature of their service.
There is great credit, especially when so few now actually serve, in having honorably served under any circumstances. It is difficult to understand the emotional baggage and/or career motivations which lead people like Hunt to risk exposure of overstatements and lies.
Regarding Hunt’s claims to being a “combat veteran,” there are several points for readers to consider.
First is to not get wrapped up in the medals issue. Both the awards he received and the ones in dispute are fundamentally “being there” types of awards and do not in and of themselves document any kind of combat action.
If Hunt had actually seen combat after 9/11, he would be eligible for the Air Force Combat Action Medal. If he wasn’t awarded or has not applied for this award, then he is not a “combat veteran.”
And no one forgets the circumstances under which they were wounded. The fact that he has no Purple Heart speaks louder than words.