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House candidate Roger Flygare of Federal Way revises inflated claim of two tours in Vietnam

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
September 25, 2012 8:44 pm
Roger Flygare

State House candidate Roger Flygare has touted his military service in Vietnam and his Purple Heart while on the campaign trail, and has repeatedly told voters he served two tours of Vietnam.

He now acknowledges he served a single, yearlong tour in the war, and says he didn’t mean to misrepresent his Army career.

“It’s like a brain fart. I don’t know why I keep saying two tours in Vietnam,” he said Monday at his home in Federal Way while showing copies of his military records.

Flygare was addressing questions raised by a Lacey writer, Thom Stoddert, who dug into the candidate’s history.

Flygare, a Democrat who owns a court reporting business, had made the false claim in a video he posted to YouTube during an unsuccessful City Council campaign last year, on his LinkedIn resume, in a questionnaire filled out for the King County Democrats, and on the website of his House campaign, which he has changed at least twice in recent days.

Earlier this month, the campaign website said Flygare

went to work for the Boeing Company before being drafted and serving two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart.

On Monday, the site said Flygare

went to work for the Boeing Company before being drafted and serving in Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart.

Today, it says Flygare

went to work for the Boeing Company before being drafted and serving one tour in Germany and another in Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart.

Flygare said he “misspoke” any time he referred to two tours in Vietnam and that he meant one tour in Germany where he was stationed and one tour in Vietnam. He called it “just absent-minded thinking, I guess. I wasn’t trying to embellish anything.” And he said the website was created by people involved in his campaign who were confused after hearing him misspeak.

The August primary election advanced Flygare and Republican Federal Way City Councilwoman Linda Kochmar to a Nov. 6 faceoff. Flygare is trying to keep Democrats’ hold on the seat left open by Democratic Rep. Mark Miloscia‘s unsuccessful run for state auditor. Republicans probably need to capture it to have any chance to take over the state House.

While he wouldn’t provide a copy, Flygare agreed to let me look at his discharge paperwork, known as a form DD-214. The News Tribune has asked candidates with military history for their DD-214 forms and with rare exceptions they have provided copies. Flygare’s form shows an honorable discharge and several awards including one with the notation “PH,” for Purple Heart.

Flygare was trained as a helicopter mechanic, then worked on payroll as a clerk and typist in Vietnam from spring 1970 to spring 1971. He says he earned the Purple Heart when his arm was injured in an explosion at his base, Camp Holloway near Pleiku. He was on guard duty at the time, he said.

His website has had two versions of a page dedicated to issues, one that is now deleted saying “As a combat veteran, I know first-hand the sacrifices made by our servicemembers and their families …” and another page that is similar but leaves out the word “combat,” saying, “As a veteran myself, I know first-hand the sacrifices made by our servicemembers and their families…”

UPDATED 4:15 p.m. to link to Stoddert’s blog post.

UPDATED 8:45 p.m. to note the “combat” claim has been deleted from Flygare’s website.

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