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Ship’s location leads to questions in 26th District race

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm with 9 Comments »
July 23, 2010 3:38 pm

I mentioned in a post yesterday that Doug Richards, whose campaign for state House is making his private life very public, is defending (among other things) his military record. Here’s more on that.

In his challenge to Democratic Rep. Larry Seaquist, a retired Navy officer who commanded a battleship, Richards has played up his own service in the Navy. There’s a picture of an aircraft carrier on his website and a one-sentence description of his service in his kickoff news release:

After high school he joined the Navy and served on board the USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 in the Persian Gulf.

That sentence, as Richards acknowledges, might leave a reader thinking he served in the Persian Gulf War. He didn’t.

He served earlier, in 1987-1989, as a group of current and former military officers note in a letter in the Peninsula Gateway this week that criticizes Richards and says his ship never entered the Persian Gulf.

On Richards’s behalf, another group of military men are defending his record, saying he served “in the Gulf Region” during peacetime. “I never claimed to be in the war,” Richards said in an interview.

So what’s the real story? The ship’s official history puts it next to, but not in, the Persian Gulf (calling it the “Arabian Gulf”):

The carrier completed 82 days on station in the North Arabian Sea. While on station, the Gold Eagle supported the escorting of American flagged tankers in the Arabian Gulf.

Richards said aircraft carriers can’t go into the Gulf because of their size. “I guess I should have said Persian Gulf region,” he said. But he compared the discrepancy to saying he lives in Port Orchard, rather than just outside city limits in Olalla.

UPDATED 3:35 p.m. with more comments from Richards.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. joeandlinda says:

    I find it sad that ostensibly smart Democrats like Larry Seaquist can’t debate the issues and so resort to “the politics of personal destruction”. Regarding the Carl Vinson and Doug’s serving in the Persian Gulf: as a 22-year Navy-Air Force veteran, I routinely refer to myself as a “Vietnam-Era Veteran” or Retiree, being careful not to give the impression that I served in the combat zone (that would be a “Vietnam Veteran”).; anybody who thinks I’m not being clear enough is ignorant. Doug makes very clear that he served in the Persian Gulf, he never says he served in the Persian Gulf War. Jordan Schrader probably has no military experience, or he would know this; military veterans/retirees understand the difference. And the South Arabian Sea, for all intents and purposes, IS the Persian Gulf folks.

  2. This goes to a fundamental matter of trustworthiness. Mr. Richards said he proudly served in the Persian Gulf. The fact is his ship never entered the Persian Gulf. This is like someone being deployed to Qatar and then saying they served in Iraq. It sounds more impressive to claim service in the Persian Gulf because people connect it to imminent danger because of the ongoing conflicts. It is not like saying he lives in Port Orchard when I actually lives near Olalla since the mailing address probably is Port Orchard.

    Likewise he said he proudly served but apparently at the time he wasn’t proud enough about it to complete his service contract.

  3. “Doug makes very clear that he served in the Persian Gulf, he never says he served in the Persian Gulf War. Jordan Schrader probably has no military experience, or he would know this; military veterans/retirees understand the difference.”

    The voting public doesn’t know this. I am not an experienced military person, and from reading the campaign literature left on my doorstep it lead me to believe that Mr. Richards served in the Gulf War.

  4. klthompson says:

    I served in the US Army during the last few months of the Korean hostilities. When asked I never state the I served in the Korean War. I simply say that I never got closer than Japan after the war was over. Mr. Richard’s ad left much to be desired.

  5. jandkgibbs says:

    Keep your eye on the ball people. Lets talk to the issues and quite splitting hairs over a body of water.

    If you want to sling mud lets talk about Seaquist’s lein placed on his Gig Harbor home for failure to pay his taxes. But once caught he paid the $23, 500 he owed. At least Richards pays his taxes, not like democrats that can only raise the taxes you and i have to pay.

    Are you better off today with Dems in Olympia. Vote em out and give the GOP a turn at bat. They can balance the books and have the will to do it.

  6. george14017 says:

    Immediately following WW2 I worked for the U.S. Navy at Pago Pago, American Samoa, so I guess that I can say that I served in the Pacific Theatre in the WW2 era. During the Korean War I was in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, so I served in the Korean War era. I don’t make such claims because they are misleading and any reasonable person would not make misleading statements. A claim of serving in the Persian Gulf has a specific meaning to many Americans and the meaning is attached to the defense of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from about May 1990 to April 1991 with Operation Desert being the key component, not providing armed escort a few years earlier for oil tankers.

  7. kandkgibbs is right that Larry Seaquist did have an IRS lien on his property for 23 days but he is wrong about Larry not paying his taxes. A quick check revealed that the payment had been made by carrying over an overpayment from the year before. The IRS made a mistake and filed a lien against an innocent tax payer. Mr. Seaquist got the matter cleared up as quick as possible after becoming aware of the problem.

    Mr. Richards DD 214 clearly doesn’t say he served in the Persian Gulf. Also he didn’t serve in the Persian Gulf region which would mean service in one of the countries surrounding the Gulf. All he had to do was read his own DD214 where it says “North Arabian Sea” and he could have gotten it right. He has released his DD 214 copy 1 rather than copy 4 so that the type of separation, character of service, separation code and reentry code aren’t available for review. If he was proud of his service why conceal this information?
    Mr. Richards says he “proudly served” but didn’t complete his service contract, why not?

  8. SuperSteve says:

    It’s hard to debate policy issues with someone who can’t be trusted to objectively present the basic facts of their own life, and Doug Richards has demonstrated from the very beginning of his campaign that he has a tendency to inflate his resume.

    If he wanted to be truthful about his military service, he could simply stated “I served proudly in the U.S. Navy”

    Instead, he embellishes his service to imply he was involved in combat while at the same time leaving out the fact the he was discharged before fulfilling his full enlistment.

    There is also the very serious issues about his failure in flipping real-estate during the recent housing bust, as outlined in a very detailed story in the Kitsap Sun at http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/jul/12/south-kitsap-legislative-candidate-faces/

    Is this the kind of person we want managing state government?

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