Pete Buttigieg Brags About His Military Service- A Fine Line

Democrat Pete Buttigieg (Mayor Pete) has been bragging about his military service since the campaign started. It’s like magic- suddenly he rises from Mayor of South Bend, Indiana to national politician. Tell the world you’re a military veteran and suddenly you’re “the bomb.”

Buttigieg in uniform

Buttigieg did serve in the Naval Reserve, and did deploy to Afghanistan on a 6 month tour of duty in 2014 as an intelligence officer. (Note: some media said a 7 month tour, but The Hill, who reviewed his military documents wrote that it was 6 months). He reportedly was in the Naval Reserve from 2009-2017, the vast portion of which was served at the Navy Reserve Joint Intelligence Operation Center near Lake Michigan.

He was a “direct commission” – which means he signed papers , passed a physical, and commissioned into the Navy. He was given the commission based on his Rhodes Scholar and McKinsey consultant background. The “insta-officer” method, though prior to deployment, he was sent to Camp McCrady to be trained.

Not everyone thinks “Mayor Pete” has a sterling military career.

“It’s good that Mayor Pete served, but there’s a world of difference between driving a Chevy Suburban in Kabul, where plenty of foreigners walk around without a problem, and closing on the enemy in combat.” Seth Moulton

Buttigieg tells people at his campaign stops that he was armed with an M4 and assigned to ferry officials around in a vehicle “outside the wire.” Though not calling himself a combat veteran, he makes certain people understand he was in danger (which he certainly was, just not on the level of other military service members).

In his book “Shortest Way Home” Pete Buttigieg refers to John Kerry as ‘iconic‘.  “I thought back to 2004 and John Kerry’s presidential run, and then remembered that it was during the campaign that I saw the iconic footage of his testimony as the spokesman for Vietnam Veterans against the War.”

“Iconic” or treasonous? It’s a question many veterans have had against John Kerry for decades.

Buttigieg Optics

Kyle Smith at the National Review wrote:

“The third thing that stands out about Buttigieg’s military service is his bizarre brag that he used to travel around Afghanistan in various motor vehicles. Has anyone who has ever served the U.S. military on overseas land not driven around? When he launched his campaign last April he bragged about “119 trips I took outside the wire, driving or guarding a vehicle.” That’s . . . not a thing. There are no such stats. Sorties in aircraft are an official military statistic. Motor-vehicle trips are so routine no one would bother to keep track, any more than someone would log how many times Pete Buttigieg took a shower. No one cares. So Buttigieg himself created this phony statistic. Picture it: He made himself a little Hero’s Log but all he had to put in it was “routine trips.” It’s pathetic. It’s hilarious. It’s apple-polishing, résumé-buffing, box-checking, attention-seeking vaporware. Just like his whole career.” 

His former commanding officer, Retired Col. Guy Hollingsworth, had some concerns about how he was stating his military service according to the Associated Press:

“Pete’s statement would be accurate in the strict sense,” Hollingsworth said. “I might question the quote of ‘driving in one around Afghanistan.’ That implies something most likely bigger than what his assignment required under my command time, but I recognize his intent.”

Hollingsworth also said Buttigieg might face questions about whether the image of him holding the rifle suggests to the viewer he was engaged in exchange of hostile fire.

“If I were writing his bio ad, I wouldn’t start with that,” Hollingsworth said. “The bulk of his time was not strapping on all kinds of weapons of war and taking your chances.”

Pete Buttigieg never fired his weapon, nor was he fired upon, which are criteria for a Combat Action Badge. He earned the standard awards: Afghanistan Campaign Medal for service in a combat zone, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and citations for rifle and pistol marksmanship. Two of his former commanders, including Hollingsworth said that technically he could probably call himself a ‘combat veteran.’ Probably that would be a gigantic mistake.

His job in Afghanistan was to disrupt the flow of money among terrorist organizations in the Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell (ATFC) – according to The Hill. He has not called himself a combat veteran as far as we can determine, but there is a fine line here with his bragging. The question is, did he volunteer for service in Afghanistan just to pad his political resume?

H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children


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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. All of her posts on Conservative Firing Line are also posted on Uncle Sam's.

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