Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Speaking of commenting on the military, I read Democratic California Governor Gray Davis's biography on his campaign website. One page is dedicated to his military service. READ THE TWO PARAGRAPHS HERE for yourself.

The page doesn't make it clear what Davis was doing or where he was. Based on the first paragraph that ends by mentioning law school, it's a reasonable assumption that he was a military lawyer. He was promoted to captain within a year or two of military service, which also backs up my assumptions he was a lawyer because the military generally counts law and medical school towards time in service for promotion.

I sent an e-mail to the Gray Davis campaign asking for a clarification. I was referred to a senior campaign aid in Los Angeles, Andre Lewis, who tried to answer my questions after spending two minutes quizzing me to make sure I didn't work for the Republican Bill Simon's campaign. Mr. Lewis didn't seem too sure of the answers, but he thought Davis was in the Signal Corps and would "grab his rifle and helmet" and "fly in Hueys" to the front where he fixed radio transmitters. Mr. Lewis referred me to Governor Davis's Sacramento staff, if I needed further information. I sent an e-mail to the governor's office yesterday, and I have not received a response yet.

So why would I care? Well, the website says Davis "earned the Bronze Star for meritorious service." Davis is promoting that he received a high military decoration for above-average service, and not for battlefield valor for which the award is normally given. And again, the website gives the impression he received the award while a lawyer, probably far away from the battlelines.

I mentioned this to a friend who is a veteran of the Special Forces in Vietnam and he was not pleased. I mentioned this to my father who spent all of 1967 as a Marine infantryman at Da Nang and Khe Sanh. He didn't seem perturbed like my friend and even thought it was reasonable for a politician to mention. However, my father agreed that most highly-decorated veterans are modest about their awards, probably wouldn't mention receiving a high decoration for meritorious service, and the governor opened himself up to scrutiny for promoting his medal.

I'm still waiting for a response from the governor's office, but even if the answer comes back that Davis was not a lawyer in the rear, the content of the website is questionable. The website is poorly written, probably purposely vague, and it makes the governor look bad for promoting a decoration many would keep private.