Another MAGA Republican Is Accused of Misrepresenting Military Service

Republicans in Arizona are calling for pro-Trump state Senate candidate Steve Slaton to drop out of the race after allegedly fudging his military service record.

On Sunday, the Navajo County GOP issued a letter accusing Slaton of providing an “altered DD-214 claiming combat veteran status and showing qualifications and awards which you have not earned.”

“That unfortunately has cast a shadow of dishonesty on your campaign, and by extension, on the Republican Party organizations in [Legislative District 7],” the group wrote. “For these reasons, we respectfully request, for the good of the Republican Party, the conservative movement in general, military service members, and veterans that you withdraw from the Republican Primary race for Representative of Legislative District 7.”

Slaton, the founder and owner of a Trump merchandise store in Show Low, Arizona, had previously claimed to be a combat veteran who had flown a helicopter during the Vietnam War. “I was a combat veteran in Vietnam for four months in support of the missions of the South Vietnamese and patrolled along the DMZ,” Slaton told an Arizona radio station KMOG in April. His campaign website claims he “served overseas in Vietnam and Korea with the 128th Aviation Company, 8th U.S. Army I Corps.”

According to the Mountain Daily Star, Slaton provided KMOG with a DD214, a document given to veterans upon their retirement that includes a record of their service and awards. The document produced by Slaton claimed he had earned a “National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary (Korea); Vietnam Service Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; Army Commendation Medal.” The document also stated that he served in the “Nixon Vietnamese Program 1974.”

However, an official copy of Slaton’s DD214 obtained by Guardians of the Green Beret (GOTGB) — an online group of “former and current Green Berets who find and investigate those who falsely claim to be a Green Beret” — paints a very different story.

The document obtained by GOTGB from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) showed that Slaton was stationed in Korea between January and December 1974 as a helicopter repairman. He never received medals for his service in Vietnam because he had never actually been deployed there. The Vietnam Service Medal that Slaton touts in his edited DD214 was discontinued months before he even enlisted. The Army Commendation Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal listed in the document presented to KMOG were also never awarded to him.

Slaton responded to the accusations and the calls for him to drop out of the race on Sunday. “I am a Vietnam combat veteran — no left wing smear campaign will ever deny that fact,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “These people doing this are doing to me what the liberals did to my fellow Vietnam veterans decades ago when they returned — spitting on them and mocking them.”

Slaton is not the only Republican facing accusations of falsifying his military record. In the U.S. Congress, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) is facing scrutiny for his regular use of a Combat Infantryman Badge for which he’s unqualified. According to a Monday report from NOTUS, the Army confirmed to the publication that while Nehls was awarded the badge in 2008 after being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, the honor was rescinded in 2023 because Nehls served as a member of the civil affairs branch, and not in a combat role.

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