Republican J.R. Majewski has centered his marketing campaign for a aggressive Ohio congressional seat round his biography as an Air Force veteran. But one of the large questions that has surfaced is why Majewski was informed he couldn’t reenlist within the Air Force after his preliminary 4 years had been up.
Majewski’s marketing campaign mentioned final week that he was punished and demoted after getting in a “brawl” in an Air Force dormitory in 2001. Military information obtained since then by The Associated Press, nonetheless, provide a special account of the circumstances, which military authorized consultants say would have performed a big position within the resolution to bar him from reenlisting. They point out Majewski’s punishment and demotion had been the outcome of him being stopped for driving drunk on a U.S. air base in Japan in September 2001.
The paperwork, which had been supplied to the AP and independently authenticated, current yet one more occasion the place the recorded historical past of Majewski’s service diverges from what he has informed voters as he campaigns whereas utilizing his veteran standing as a number one credential.
In an announcement, Majewski acknowledged that he was punished for drunken driving, although he didn’t tackle why his marketing campaign beforehand mentioned his demotion was the outcome of a battle.
“This mistake is now more than 20 years old. I’m sure we’ve all done something as young adults that we look back on and wonder ‘what was I thinking?’ and I’m sure our parents and grandparents share these sentiments,” Majewski mentioned.
Since beginning his marketing campaign to unseat longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Majewski has repeatedly mentioned he was a fight veteran who served a tour of obligation beneath “tough” circumstances in Afghanistan. By his personal account, he as soon as went greater than 40 days within the nation with out a bathe as a result of an absence of working water.
His story got here beneath intense scrutiny final week when the AP, citing military paperwork obtained by public information requests, reported that he didn’t deploy to Afghanistan as he claimed, however as an alternative spent six months based mostly in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, the place he helped load and unload plane.
The newest revelation that Majewski was demoted for drunken driving provides one other wrinkle. Last week, the AP requested Majewski’s marketing campaign why his military service information confirmed that he was not allowed to reenlist within the Air Force and left the service after 4 years at a rank that was one notch above the place he began.
At the time, his marketing campaign mentioned in an e mail that Majewski was “in a fight in the dormitory with another servicemember” which “knocked his rank down.” His marketing campaign added that he later gained some of that rank again.
The personnel information obtained by the AP make no point out of a battle. Instead, they state that Majewski was demoted for drunken driving at Kadena Air Base in Japan on Sept. 8, 2001. And relatively than achieve his rank again — as Majewski’s marketing campaign mentioned — the information indicated he continued to carry the rank of E-2, one notch above entry stage, that he was demoted to for the remainder of his lively obligation.
“When you decided to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after indulging in intoxicating liquor you brought discredit upon yourself, 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, and the Air Force,” the disciplinary information state, referring to the unit Majewski was assigned to on the time. “Further misconduct by you of any type will not be tolerated.”
The three-page doc particulars Majewski’s punishment, which included a reprimand and 30 days of additional obligation along with the demotion. It bears Majewski’s signature and reveals he consulted a lawyer and waived his proper to a court-martial. He additionally waived his proper to enchantment the punishment and requested that the doc not grow to be public, the information present.
The AP was not capable of acquire a “written presentation” from Majewski, which was referred to within the disciplinary paperwork. The marketing campaign didn’t reply to a request from the AP to offer the doc.
Eric Mayer, a former West Point graduate and Army infantry officer later turned military lawyer, reviewed Majewski’s paperwork at AP’s request. He mentioned that “the overall nature and quality of (Majewski’s) military service can be severely questioned simply by virtue of the fact that he got out as a E-2 after four years.”
“Basically, his commanding officer told him as long as he behaves himself for the next six months, he won’t demote him down all the way to airman basic,” Mayer mentioned, referring to the entry-level rank Majewski may have held if he bought into extra bother. Mayer additionally famous that Majewski was given further duties in his punishment that typically contain “area beautification” and janitorial providers.
In some instances, a DUI generally is a career-ending violation within the military. But three days after Majewski was pulled over, the U.S. was all of a sudden at warfare following the 9/11 terrorist assaults. Within months, Majewski was reassigned and deployed to Qatar, which served because the staging floor for operations in Afghanistan, information present.
Military information present Majewski’s solely deployment was to Qatar. Last Friday, throughout a defiant information convention, he insisted that he did certainly serve in Afghanistan, although he declined to supply specifics as a result of he mentioned the main points had been “classified.”
But there’s a distinction between deploying to a rustic and touching down there. Majewski beforehand mentioned he was a “combat veteran” who deployed to Afghanistan, a time period that conveys he obtained orders assigning him to a selected base within the nation.
Majewski beforehand mentioned he couldn’t focus on flights he says he took to Afghanistan as a result of they had been “classified.”
In his assertion Wednesday, he mentioned he was aboard “outbound transport flights to forward bases and combat zones throughout the Middle East, including Afghanistan” although he acknowledged that he was stationed in Qatar.
He additionally described his expertise becoming a member of the Air Force on the age 20 as fulfilling, but difficult.
“Like any young serviceman away from family in a foreign land and with an assignment schedule in continual motion, it came with periods of difficulty and personal challenges,” Majewski mentioned. “I lost my grandmother, who I loved very deeply, and it was tough work. I am proud of my service and the experiences that made me who I am today, but I have never once claimed to have undergone a ‘tough combat tour’ in Afghanistan or suggested that I was engaged in active firefights.”
Majewski’s marketing campaign has beforehand promoted him as a “combat veteran.” During an August 2021 interview on the One American Podcast, Majewski mentioned that he had a “tough time in life” whereas serving a tour of obligation in Afghanistan. He echoed that declare in different interviews unearthed by the liberal group Media Matters.
Majewski’s declare that he couldn’t focus on his forays to Afghanistan as a result of the main points had been “classified” was a purple flag to those that examine instances of “stolen valor.”
“The No. 1 trope that comes out of people when they are either fabricating a military record or, in this case, embellishing a record is they fall back to, ‘It’s classified,’” mentioned Ed Caffrey, a former Air Force grasp sergeant who now investigates “stolen valor” instances and teaches journalism at Eastern New Mexico University. He added: “There’s no junior enlisted air transportation specialist who was doing something so secret that 20 years later it still needs to be classified.”
Majewksi’s marketing campaign declined a request to place the AP in contact with these he served with who may vouch that he went to Afghanistan. But he has posted a number of pages of information to social media that he mentioned again up his claims. Military consultants consulted by the AP say the information show no such factor.
“The AP stated that I had only been deployed to Qatar. My records show my deployment location as classified. In addition, they forgot my deployment to Camp Hialeah in Korea (which is now closed),” Majewski mentioned in a single tweet, which contained two separate paperwork.
One of the paperwork included within the tweet was a “temporary duty assignment” in early 2001 to South Korea, which aren’t orders to deploy as Majewski claimed. Key particulars together with the aim of the journey and its length had been additionally blurred out within the picture Majewski posted. Additionally, the doc’s inclusion of the phrases “top secret” and “secret” had been references to the safety clearances held by Majewski and the noncommissioned officer he traveled with, Air Force consultants say. That officer, whose identify is redacted, had a “top secret” clearance; Majewski had a “secret” clearance. Members of the military usually want safety clearances to do their jobs.
The different doc included within the tweet, which doesn’t present a date, indicated Majewski had been medically cleared to go on a special short-term project to a “classified” location.
Experts say such types typically checklist a service member’s vacation spot as categorized as a matter of routine.
“The reason that it says ‘classified’ is not because he’s going to some top secret black ops location,” Caffrey mentioned. “It says classified because that’s a non-secured form. He’s taking that form around with him to different places on base where people who put eyes on it may not have security clearances to see what he’s doing.”
“It’s (operations security). They don’t want everyone and their brother to know where he’s going. That’s not something you want out in the general public,” Caffrey added.
Even as scrutiny of Majewski intensifies, he has given no indication that he intends to drop out of the race and has continued to marketing campaign.
“I have nothing to hide,” Majewski mentioned on the finish of a quick information convention Friday.
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