If you click here, you will see links to both the Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual and the Manual of Military Decorations and Awards. Neither of those manuals mention “Intelligence Officer of the Year,” which Kirk claimed to have received for the past decade. And neither mention the Rufus Taylor award, which Kirk actually received. The Rufus Taylor award is nominated by Navy brass, but presented by a private organization that appears to have close ties to military contractors.
Founded in 1985, NIP is a nonprofit organization incorporated to enhance awareness of the mission and vital functions of the Naval Intelligence community, as well as to foster camaraderie among Naval Intelligence Professionals.
Founded by NIP in 1988, NIF is a tax exempt, charitable and educational organization created for the sole purpose of soliciting, receiving, and administering funds and property in order to advance knowledge in the art of Naval and Maritime Intelligence, and to recognize and reward academic excellence and professional achievement in the field of Intelligence. NIF does not have a membership per se, but draws its support from the NIP membership and from other individual and corporate sponsors and supporters of Naval Intelligence. NIF sponsors and presents awards and scholarships as noted in “Naval Intelligence Foundation Programs” below.
Kirk, an intelligence officer, told the Sun-Times he was never fired on as he flew over Iraq or Kosovo. He never said he was fired on, he said in reply to a question from the Sun-Times. “No, no. There’s no contradiction. I remember being illuminated by air defense.”
Contrary to his claim to the Sun-Times, Kirk did talk about being shot at, on Oct. 1, 2003, from the House floor. Kirk spoke so imprecisely as to be misleading. “I just returned from Iraq and the trend is for the better,” Kirk said, with his comments captured on C-SPAN. He goes on to say, “the last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us. That force is now gone.”
I guess you could say that Kirk was using some sort of “Royal Us” when he said on the House floor that the Iraqi’s were “shooting at us.” But I doubt that it was understood that way. As a refresher, here’s that video…
* If Kirk was hoping to bury this story by scheduling the editorial board appearances during the first day of the Blagojevich trial, he failed. The Tribune and the Sun-Times both put him on the front page…
“I simply misremembered it wrong” is destined for the history books. It just makes no sense.
* The story also got some pretty big play on the teevee. WGN’s report was particularly hard-hitting. Make sure to watch the whole thing…
Kirk reacted to it all by saying it was his responsibility, and that it shouldn’t have happened. But he wouldn’t admit to embellishing his record for his political benefit. He apologized for not speaking with “utter precision.”
“I am sorry,” he said at the end of the tortured hour.
I’m sure he is sorry indeed. He just let Alexi Giannoulias sail right back into the campaign.
This is major-league umpire Jim Joyce on Wednesday after he booted a call at first base, robbing Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game:
“I took a perfect game away from the kid over there who worked his ass off all night. . . . It was probably the most important call of my career and . . . I missed it.”
Compare and contrast.
“Upon a recent review of my records, I found that an award listed in my official biography was misidentified as ‘Intelligence Officer of the Year.’ In fact . . . I was the recipient of the Rufus Taylor Intelligence Unit of the Year award for outstanding support provided during Operation Allied Force.”
That was Mark Kirk, Illinois congressman and GOP U.S. Senate candidate.
The list of untruths goes back to his Senate campaign’s first ad of his head-to-head race against Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
In that ad, Kirk claims he served “in” Iraq - something he corrected during an interview about his military record with WJBC this week.
“I have deployed as a reservist twice to Afghanistan, I’ve been to Afghanistan other times as a member of Congress,” he said.
“And I have never served in Iraq as a military man, I have been to Iraq as a congressman, and then as part of operation Northern Watch, I deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, where we supported the no-fly zones, so we were flying over Iraq. But we didn’t set boots in Iraq.”
The Scott Lee Cohen debacle has everybody talking about “getting off the ticket.” Kirk isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Alexi. It’s a fight to the finish and, frankly, I think either one can win this thing, although Kirk still has the edge.
How does anyone “misremember” half of their career?
He’s been in the Reserves 21 years, right? He’s been lying about his record for the past 10.
As for the litany of Republican veterans that Kirk is touting as character references for his military career — everyone from Adam Kinzinger to Luke Praxmarer to John Shimkus — two issues come to mind.
One, not one of those folks served with Kirk.
Two, nearly every single quote claims people are attacking Kirk’s record.
Nobody is attacking his record. If anything, folks are going out of their way to praise his actual record — as Giannoulias has done throughout this ordeal, saying his record is honorable.
Rather, citizens are questioning why Kirk feels such a strong need to habitually lie about his record… and, if he’s so ready to lie about his military record, what else is he willing to lie about?
When he told the VFW Hall he saw flak “over the target” in Kosovo - that wasn’t someone shooting at him? Because since he said it made him realize he could die, I kinda thought he meant from the flak and not from fright. But I guess I misheard what he misremembered.
Easily the most overblown story of the year. Ivy league degree, law degree, secure career and mid career he decides to serve his country in the navy on 3 continents (north america, europe, asia), half of the time without pay.
Alexi, far less accomplished did not serve, these were mere missatements made into a firestorm.
I also did not realize that wgn had stooped so low and was so desperate for ratings that unsourced rumor on the internet was now a legit issue to ask a distinguished us senate candidate. Back in the day, real journalists in chicago had a saying that if your mother dies check it out-or something to that effect. Now it’s I read on a random blog with no reputation dedicated to chasing rumors outing gop’ers that an anonymous someone that claims he knew you claims he knows you are gay.
disgusting. Not that I would ever watch wgn, but if I was ever going to, I won’t now.
If you watch the suntimes thing, it’s an hour of a bunch of journalists regurgitating the same questions. Kirk did the admirable thing by answering all questions.
It’s certainly not close to enough to think of dumping him and they don’t have a better candidate.
If he keeps up with the late 19th and early 20th century cultural refernces (WWI diary quotes in his acceptance speech, Marquess of Queensberry rules, etc.), he’ll cement his image as a member of a republican party that hasn’t existed since well before Rockefeller died in his mistress’s bed.
- Don't Worry, Be Happy - Friday, Jun 4, 10 @ 10:30 am:
(Chicago) Congressman Mark Kirk today addressed his authorship of the 2002 intelligence report claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The information in the report, which was later found to be false, led to the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
“I want to be very contrite and say there is a casualness with which I sometimes describe military details. I didn’t use the accuracy and precision I should have.” Kirk went on to apologized for not writing the report with “utter precision.”
He didn’t misremember. He misrepresented. Big difference.
The comments from other veterans are killing him. I smell a big Kirk press conference coming soon, with him surrounded by supportive veterans. Maybe in North Chicago, maybe near Great Lakes, but definitely in the friendly confines of the 10th CD. So much for this being a one-day story. He’s got ten years of misrepresenting to atone for. It ain’t going away overnight.
“Misremember wrong” is a double negative. To misremember wrong is to remember right. This could be an admission, disguised to look like an apology, that Kirk’s embellishments were exactly what he meant to say.
That would make it the most unintentionally true statement by a politician since, “We are the senator.”
I saw one article with the Tribune quoting Kirk as saying he needed to speak with “complete military precession” … “precision” guys duh. It was kind of like, Kirk can make up words and we’ll print them.
Contrary to conventional wisdom Alexi was never out of this thing. Since day one, he’s the only Democratic candidate running statewide who seems to really be running with any fire in his belly and playing to win (I exclude Lisa and Jesse, who barely have races).
I think these disclosures on Kirk will ultimately be far more damaging than the bank failure is to Alexi. Kirk now has a really public problem with telling the truth, which undermines his entire message.
I am a veteran. I served “during” Operation Desert Storm. I never say that I served “in” desert storm. This isnt a matter of lost in translation between military and civilian jargon as Kirk has suggested. It is, plain and simple, a known misrepresentation of one’s proximity to combat. This should be less about the actual embellishment of his military record, and more about his ability to flat out lie, and continue to do so even after being caught. I look at a man like Senator John McCain who suffered torture as a captured Navy pilot that most of us could not endure. He always downplays it, or at least until bringing it more to the forefront was necessary to save his presidential campaign. I am a democrat, and a big supporter of President Obama, but I respect John McCain as a heroic military man.
Fro those who havent served in the military, those of us who have take our record very seriously. If you doubt this, google the name Admiral Mike Boordaa. He was a top Navy officer who wore a “V” pin, deomnstrating valor in combat, on his chest. When it was discovered that he didnt earn the “v,” he committed suicide, rather than suffer the dishonor of misrepresenting his military commendations. I’m absolutely not suggesting that this is the appropriate response to being caught in such a lie, but it does demonstrate how serious a violation of the military code such misrepresentations really are.
Many of us serve because we feel it is our duty to our country. Some do it as a necessary resume item for a career in politics. I believe that Kirk is in it for the glory. Or at least to offer him the opportunity to see if he can claim undeserved glory without getting caught. Its really pathetic.
- Judgment Day Is On The Way - Friday, Jun 4, 10 @ 10:54 am:
“ASK YOUR KIDS IF BEING ‘ILLUMINATED’ IS THE SAME AS BEING SHOT AT.”
“ILLUMINATED” in the world of electronic warfare is another way of saying “painted by search radar”, most likely from either an early warning network or an air defense network. It may not seem like much to you, but to an EA-6B jockey, it’s pucker factor time. You don’t take it lightly at all, because otherwise you might be lunch for a SAM.
You obviously don’t remember all those times when there were No Fly zones in Iraq where there was pretty much of an undeclared conflict - Iraqi search/targeting radar would “paint” US aircraft, and there would be a response of one or more AGM-88 HARM antiradar missiles - “Cat and Mouse” game, only on a deadly serious basis.
Btw, the EA-6B Prowler has been used in anti-improvised explosive device operations in the current conflict in Afghanistan for several years by jamming remote detonation devices such as garage door openers or cellular telephones. Two Prowler squadrons were also based in Iraq, working with the same mission.
If you’re sitting in the EA-6B as the EW officer, better be a cool player, cause if the guy on the other side outplays you, not only might you be dead, but all the other folks also up there as part of the mission package who are depending upon you to provide them with an electronic “blanket” might also be dead.
I don’t think you’re helping Kirk much by rehashing the unsubstantiated claims here. But please continue, and urge WGN to pick up the investigation. Go all Gary Hart on the media. Yeah, that’s a good plan.
- term limits for umps - Friday, Jun 4, 10 @ 11:09 am:
Joyce has job protection–he is a member of a union. Plus he had no choice but to admit his mistake–everyone in the country saw it on replay. Voters dont like their politicians to be outward liars so Kirk can’t directly admit to it. BTW Joyce put himself above the game with that BS call. In that situation, to make the call he did, you have to know he is safe. No way Joyce could not have had a doubt in his mind. Typical umpire that has been around too long.
@Judgment Day - that’s a very interesting factoid regarding what Kirk meant by being “illuminated”. Not having a military background, I can see why a lot of people hearing that statement really have no idea of why it’s so significant in that context.
I have noticed lately that there are an awful lot of people making an awful lot of assumptions about military protocol, awards, who got what award when and for what, and how they are awarded, all based off information they get from the Internet and think they understand. There are quite a few folks who seem to exhibit distain for the military and don’t have a whit of actual military experience, but act like experts based on trolling webpages and making conclusions on what they think they understand from 10 minutes worth of research.
and lost in the translation of all of this is that the Rufus Taylor Award is not a Navy award. The most you can say about it is that perhaps Kirk is correct when he says the Navy commanders recommend people or units for it. However, the award is part of an awards program of NMIA, a 501(c)(6) organization. See: http://www.nmia.org/nmiaawardsbanquet.html
Further, people who were in the military and really care about it generally in my experience do not brag about their awards and tend to give their units the credit. For example, since this happened, I’ve been asking my dad about his awards from Korea. He said he got a unit award. He went to look for it. Turned out it was an individual award. My dad is quick to credit his unit and in my experience, that is how military people are.
ILPundit: Yes, Kirk’s statements were misleading, but Alexi has his own problems with the truth. In 2006 he was a whiz kid banker, but now he portrays himself as a minor player at Broadway. Which was it?
==Research often starts with the target of the rumor. Do you not comprehend this? ==
But Kirk has repeatedly denied the rumor, and nothing factual has changed except more people continuing to spread it. So, for example, if a rumor is being floated that a candidate beat his wife, that the candidate has repeatedly denied in the past, it’s ok for a professional news organization to continue to blast the rumor based on some random blog bringing the exact same rumor up again, based on no new information?
Judgement Day’s comment is accurate as to Prowler crews. Only problem is, Kirk is not and never was a member of a Prowler crew. He’s not an Electronic Warfare specialist, he’s a ground based intelligence officer. His whole career has been in intel, sometimes supporting EW efforts, sometimes supporting comms - but not actually conducting EW missions. In Bosnia, he flew as an “intelligence observer” on one flight of an EC-130, not a Prowler. That was his total flight experience as of June 1999. His flights “over” Iraq happened less than a year later, and he was supposedly incredibly busy in between running for Congress. There’s simply no evidence for the idea that he suddenly went from being one step above cargo to serving as the EW officer on a Prowler in an active area. Kirk’s never even gone that far. If the zone is actively dangerous, moreover, what sort of moron would let an unqualified person whose main job is intel hop into the EW seat?
Prowlers were being painted at the time as were a number of other aircraft in the no-fly zone. Anyone who got painted would know exactly when and where it happened, especially if it was the first and only time it happened. Kirk doesn’t know any such details for a reason.
==There are a lot of facts here, try addressing them instead of just using partisan hackery. ==
So what facts are there to substantiate the rumor that you and others like WGN are continuing to keep alive? And “they campaign responded to it, or didn’t respond to it, so it’s news” isn’t adequate. The response has been no, it’s not true. The rest is just media keeping what should be a dead story alive.
I have to admit I am one of the biggest Kirk supporters around, but his team is doing a terrible job of crisis comm.
They should be embarassed and probably replaced.
He honestly deserves a lot of the lumps he is getting, but his team’s strategy should have handled this entire issue in the time frame of about 48 hours.
I know Mark personally and I would trust him with my life. I know that his intent in this situation is not how it is being perceived, but the management of this situation is nothing less than horrible.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jun 4, 10 @ 12:04 pm:
I think the most damaging remarks are coming from the Right, and they are scorching.
I don’t usually say this, but check out Illinois Review:
The responses to the post of Mark Kirk’s defense are overwhelmingly negative:
[My dad] said his experience in the military was that the Washington elite in the reserve intelligence community contributed very little and were mostly there for about 2 weeks of “Combat tourism” to pad their resume, whereas for normal enlisted people in the military, orders are not negotiable and if the Navy says you’re going overseas, you go for a full tour (normally a year) and you stay until you’re done or seriously wounded. My dad said some of the least intelligent people in the service are political elites who serve in “reserve intelligence”.
Interestingly enough, Kirk didn’t join the Reserves until 1989, while he was still on Congressman Porter’s staff.
There seems to be something to the accusation that Kirk’s ENTIRE military service, not just the lies, are about resume-padding.
I hope this leads to a broader investigation of just how many other political insiders like Mark Kirk are using the Intelligence Reserves to pad their resumes.
I can understand losing track of who issued an award. Maybe other people wouldn’t, but I get the idea of “There was an award from somebody. I lost track of who.”
What I don’t get is his statement that he was in combat when he was performing a support role. Either you are acutely aware that somebody else is the one getting shot at, or you are so narcissistic that you aren’t in touch with reality. I’m also nauseated by his attempt in this video to take all the credit for a unit award. What a pompous ass to undermine the accomplishments of the little guys for Kirk’s own benefit. The unit got an award, anyone with dignity and a little respect for the enlisted men & women would just leave it at that.
The biggets line of hooey in the Sun Times video is when Kirk says he was so busy in his congressional campaign he “misremembered” the nature of the award. But not too busy that he took the time to go back to Washington and collect it so he could use it during the campaign.
Getting back to campaign, does the dust-up over his military service mean the end of Kirk’s use of the bank against Alexei? “You talk about mine; I’ll talk about yours.” If Kirk pulls out a Broadway Bank ad, he’ll get hit with a “lying about my military service ad.”
So how does the revelation of an Achilles Heel for both candidates change their campaigns going forward?
Rob_N, do you REALLY want to dredge up foibles of Dan Seals in comparison? As you know well, the criticism of Seals was not that he called himself professor instead of ‘adjunct professor,’ it’s that he called himself a professor at all when he was a night school lecturer, and more importantly, he claimed that he was an adjunct professor on his campaign literature some 6 or 8 months before he had ever stepped in front of a classroom (which class experience was grandly capped off, if you recall, by him accepting an envelope from his guest speaker Dan Rostenkowski in front of the whole class).
You may recall the Daily Herald had this to day:
Seals, running against 42-year-old Jay Footlik of Buffalo Grove in the 10th Congressional District, at one time said he was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.
But Seals doesn’t begin his position as a part-time School of Continuing Studies lecturer until April, a Northwestern spokesman said. Shrugging it off as a miscue, Seals has started calling himself a lecturer in public forums, though as of Tuesday afternoon, his Web site still listed him as an adjunct professor.
“What it might show is I don’t know what the proper terms are,” said Seals, 36. “The idea that I’m trying to mislead or be deceitful is baseless.”
Maybe Illinois Review was actually asking (innocently, of course) “Does Mark Kirk pay his property taxes?” and they had to take it down lest some “political goons” start pointing out some pesky lil facts.
I thought we all supposed to be totally enamored with the Blago trial by now…that the Dems would be on the run because of Blago.
Thanks, Mark Kirk…
BTW, this story is far from dead…especially given the fact that this former intilligence officer can’t seem to get his story straight. This would be a good time for Plummer to release his returns…it would be a good distraction from the Kirk fiasco.
Never said the ’semantics’ concerning Kirk were not a legitimate discussion point. My objection, and the reason I had to clarify what Rob_N was ‘misremembering’ about Seals and how HE responded to such allegations, was the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of the Kirk-bashers, such as Rob, Ellen, Carl, etc.
I’ve been called both an adjunct professor and lecturer for doing the exact same thing. I was also a Visiting Assistant Professor for doing the same things I did as an adjunct, only more of it. Regardless of my formal title, students routinely called me Professor (even when I didn’t call myself that). It depends on the school and there is no uniform standard.
Seals shouldn’t have used a term the school didn’t, but I can all but gaurantee a lot of people called him Professor Seals. If that misstatement level is enough for Kirk’s campaign to go nuts, then it would seem Kirk should be strung up by his thumbs for his serial misrepresentations.
- The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Friday, Jun 4, 10 @ 12:40 pm:
Here’s my take.
I still stand by my original assessment that he’s dedicated, hard-working, has the experience and knowledge we’ll need over the next six years–and that his Midwestern heart is in the right place as far as our State and Country are concerned.
He’s just been out in DC for way, WAY too long, which has put him into a spin.
He seems to have a bad case of vertigo right now, and needs to come back home to Illinois for a while to re-orient himself with his Constituents.
10th - Kirk was the one who said he served “over” Bosnia and Iraq, to try and blur the fact that his actual primary service was in Italy and Turkey. Those statements made people ask what he meant, way back in the GOP primary, and led to the initial walk back that he had taken a few flights. Then it got pulled back to one flight over Bosnia as an observer on EC-130 and some number of similar flights over Iraq (may only be one, may be as many as three or four, but definitely not his primary mission), but with the kicker that he took enemy fire in at least one case. Only now that didn’t happen either.
He served in Operation Allied Force, whose main mission was the conflict in Bosnia, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave it at that for some reason. Dittor for his service in support of the northern no-fly zone in Iraq. Also, hitching a ride as an observer (ie with no actual mission related role) isn’t something most people would consider serving regardless of the location. More like joy riding or touring.
This guy Kirk is out of control. Put the whole outing issue aside if you must. All the lying about the military record is starting to look like a pathological thing, bad even by politician standards. I think he should drop out and seek professional help.
Also can’t help wondering now how much of that story is true, the one about how he nearly drowned in Lake Michigan as a boy.
Sorry, everthing he says is suspect now. That’s why parents try to teach their kids not to lie.
10th - if my last response seemed vague, let me clarify. Pilots based in Turkey who flew missions into Iraq in 2003 can say they served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. People like Kirk who worked a desk at Andrews in 2003 without direct tasking to OIF can say they served “during” OIF but not “in” it. Kirk was the one who decided serving “over” Bosnia and Iraq sounded better than serving in Operation Allied Force for whatever reason. That use of the word “over” isn’t the issue - its all the embellishing about what his role was, what aircraft he was on, whether he got shot at, how often he was on a plane, what he did when he wasn’t on a plane, what he does at the NMCC, etc - those are are the problems that are coming to light now.
Thanks for the cache of that Illinois Review page, Rich.
Ron Stephens, thanks for the Vietnam service, but he has a lot of nerve throwing stones at “mob banker” Alexi Giannoulias in his support of Kirk. I know that “mob banker” is the latest meme the GOP is trying to make for this campaign, but coming from him it just seems extra ridiculous… or have I missed the IL Dems press releases bashing “drunk driver” “pill-popping disgraced pharmacist” Ron Stephens?
10th Indy - thanks for the link proving the Taylor award is not an official naval award and is not discussed in the naval award manual (which is a different document) as Kirk’s campaign asserts. The actual language of this directive is quite interesting as it makes clear that no one who read this document could confuse the privately established Taylor award (listed 4th and clearly labeled as being established by NMIA with the Navy’s own JOY award (listed first and clearly labeled as created by the Department of Naval Intelligence).
The directive actually raises a question in light of the statement by Kirk’s former CO that he meant Kirk to have the award. The Taylor procedures are listed as seeking the nomination of an individual, not a group. The nominators are directed to supply information about an individual, not a group. Kirk’s CO says he meant to nominate Kirk, not a group. Yet a group won the award. Suggests either the commander didn’t follow the protocol, is “misrembering” what he did - or his individual nomination of Kirk was not the basis of the award to the group.
Thanks. So can he say “I served in Iraq during Operation Northern Watch’”? and is his “I served in Iraq” wrong because he didn’t include ONW? Or is it that Kirk can’t say he served in ONW because he was an intel officer when he flew with combat missions to protect the no-fly zone? Did he take less of a risk? If the plane was downed for some reason would the Iraqis have said “oh you’re just an intel officer let’s get you safely back to Turkey”?
I understand the cumulative effect of Kitk’s mistakes here - but if we are demanding precise language of him don’t we need to agree to what that precise language is?
All the awards are nominated and selected by the Navy as far as I can tell. And i think we agree on the Taylor award - it is usually given to an individual and Kirk’s CO has said he nominated Kirk as an individual. I don’t know why the award went to a unit that year. I could guess that it spoke more highly about Kirk’s skills as a leader to have his entire unit receive the award, some would of course argue otherwise.
Does the way the awards are listed determine which is more prestigious? They all seem impressive.
The more you delve into this, the more complicated it seems.
Kirk has an Ivy League degree? I thought he went to Blackburn College in Carlinville?
You see that is the problem with Kirk. He went to Blackburn before transferrring but he only emphasizes the Illinois school during certain speeches in an attempt burnish his downstate Illinois credentials. Similarly, with his Navy reserve service, Kirk has used words and images to create a perception of one thing (eg served in combat) when the truth is another (served in support role).
10th - He was the one who called what he did in ONW serving “over” Iraq back in 2009, before he started saying he served “in” Iraq in 2010. He is the one now saying that he wasn’t “in” Iraq at that time and that he was wrong to say he was “in” Iraq. He can certainly say he served “in” ONW. The “over” stuff is just silly, because it really wasn’t his mission specialty to be in a a plane at all, but “over” is more accurate than “in” with regards to countries he didn’t set foot in. Or can I say I’ve been in every state between SFO and O’Hare because of the flight path?
I’m really not sure in/over matters that much (the in/during OIF stuff, since it is precisely what people said Blumenthal was evil for, matters more to some people). What he should not have said under any circumstances (and did as well as having his staff say it) was that he had flown a number of “combat missions” where he was shot at, suggesting that his primary function is combat rather than ground based intelligence (and apparently making details up in the process).
People who fly anywhere in a warzone take risks. But merely being in a plane in a war zone is not the sme thing as “flying combat missions”, much less taking enemy fire. In the actual Navy Award Manual, there’s a description of the Air Medal, which you can get as the equivalent of a Combat Ribbon (Navy) or Combat Service Badge (Army). Like the CR and CSB are based on time in actual combat zones (as opposed to being generally in theater), the Air Medal is based on number of flights involving either combat or direct combat support. The Navy has three categories - 1. Strikes (where you deliver ordinance or shoot at the enemy and they shoot back) 2. Flights (where you deliver ordinance but the enemy doesn’t shoot back) and 3) Direct Combat Support Missions (where no one shoots at the other side but you help the people who do). It takes much longer to get an Air Medal in category 3 (either 250 hours of time or 50 missions, as opposed to 10 Strikes or 20 flights), because of the lessened risk associated with combat support. If you do get shot at on a combat support mission, then and only then does it become a combat mission for this purpose.
What the EC-130 (the only plane we know Kirk to have flown on) does is combat support. It has no offensive capabilities, and it stays away from enemy planes and defenses to the extent possible. It is a classic combat support platform, not somehting that flies “combat missions.” What the EC-130 crews do is important and inherently dangerous, but it does a disservice to both the men and women who do that job routinely and the combat crews for Kirk to take one and dress it up as the other.
He was also born in Champaign County….but I think the reality is that he is focusing on his local ties to that region to express his familiarity and understanding to represent those people in Washington DC. It is dramatically more than his opponent can claim.
How intelligent can Kirk be as an intelligence officer when he responds as he has. With his logic, if he nicks himself while shaving with his uniform in the closet he probably wants a purple heart. He’d get his butt kicked in most VFWS, I know with the BS he is still spewing.
I’m remembering that odd time when Kirk, or his staffer, tweeted during a drill weekend when he was supposedly “standing watch” at the Pentagon, “all quiet here.” That was really rather strange. On a very, very low level (as an enlisted electronic warfare/linguist type) I used to be in military intelligence, and I can tell you that a comment, while on duty, to outside groups of people, saying, “all’s quiet here” would not have been received well.
Rich I agree with you on the analysis (can’t bring myself to admitting I agree w/ Kass). This is a huge issue for Kirk and while I still think he’s got the edge, it’s way more of a contest than it was 6 weeks ago.
Like 47 said, those comments from the VFW crowd in the WGN piece are very telling.
The rumors about Kirk’s sexuality definitely pre-date his divorce. I don’t know why they persist or why it even matters. But I can tell you that I have heard those rumors about him - always from Democrats - at least since 2000.
I take that back. It matters in one way. I think politicians who are secretly gay and vote against gay rights are jerks.
Lastly, I think he seemed very uneasy during that WGN interview. I’ve never seen him debate or on live TV before. Wonder if he’s always so jittery, or just when he’s apologizing for misremembering his misrepresentations.
Rich, What was the point of the Kirk Campaign sending you that info in Update #3?
Yes, there is an award called “Naval Intelligence Analyst of the Year” given out by a private group. We all already knew that.
Mark Kirk was going around claiming he won an award from the Navy which he called (even capped it like it was official) “Intelligence Officer of the Year.”
That sounds similar but this award he claimed for the past decade simply does not exist. Even if he meant to say “Naval Intelligence Analyst of the Year” Kirk never won that award.
Besides, he clarified last week that his campaign made a mistake… oops, scratch that. Video put the lie to that excuse and now Kirk has said he misstated, misremembered and was imprecise in referring to the award he actually can claim(apparently, because he was juggling a lot of stuff in 2000, stuff so heady it impacted him for an entire decade).
Even still, the actual award which Kirk accepted and can properly list is called the Rufus Taylor Award and it is for entire units. It too is not given out by the Navy.
In fact, even the new claim from Kirk’s then CO doesn’t quite make sense. Capt. Fearnow said he thought the award he applied for was the other award by the same name which is for individuals. As an intel CO one would think he’d know the difference between applying for an award for “Lt. Cmdr. Mark Kirk” and an award for the “Intelligence Division Electronic Attack Wing at Aviano”.
Shore - It’s not a “random blog with no reputation”. It’s a blog that has correctly identified individuals as gay who have denied being so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. What is wrong is lying about being gay. It’s just as wrong as embellishing a service record.
So if a person wishes to keep his sexual orientation private that is somehow wrong? If there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay, why, then, is it any of your business whether or not someone is gay?
=It’s just as wrong as embellishing a service record. =
this guy is incapable of knowing the truth about himself…you can take that statement any which way you’d like…the choice here is this folks: a liar, or a little rich boy who feels entitled to move up the food chain…sickening…
If I flew off an aircraft carrier during any of our conflicts with Iraq and returned to that same carrier, did I serve in Iraq? Or do all pilots and their crew who never set boots on Iraqi soil automatically not get credit for serving in Iraq?
Flying a mission over the no fly zone, in Iraqi airspace and being painted by Iraqi anti-aircraft sure appears to be serving in the US Military in Iraq.
Could it be that Kirk was factually correct in his ad? He served in Iraq during Operation Northern Watch.
As he has said he would he now being more precise and humble in describing his service. ” as part of operation Northern Watch, I deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, where we supported the no-fly zones, so we were flying over Iraq. But we didn’t set boots in Iraq.”
==It’s a blog that has correctly identified individuals as gay who have denied being so.==
So has my Uncle Frank at times, but his guess, like the blog, has little credibility without substantiated facts (something Rich is very intent on….unless it has to do with this rumor, apparently). And neither deserve to be constantly repeated by legit news organizations when they are unsubstantiated rumors that have been repeatedly denied. At least that’s the way legit journalists used to act.
You guys need to decide which situation you are referring to.
Did Mark Kirk fly intelligence missions over Iraq in the no-fly zone - YES
Did Iraqi anti-aircraft radar lock onto his aircraft - YES
Is Mark Kirk a pilot - NO, he is an intelligence officer, who was attached to a Prowler squadron
Did Mark Kirk serve in Operation Enduring Freedom - NO, but he did serve DURING it.
Does any of this change the fact that he is a Naval reserve intelligence officer with stellar fit reports and commendations for his work - NOPE
What does this all really show us? We have been discussing this for days and everyone is confused by which verb, noun and pronoun belong with which sentence.
Let me finish this by saying, was Mark Kirk wrong with his previous statements regarding his awards - YES
Does he deserve to be publicly reprimanded for that? - YES
However, we really need to keep this all in context. Navy - check : Intel Officer - check :Good standing - check : received commendations for his work - check : served in (or over) Iraq and Afghanistan - check : was serving in the reserve before running for office : check (he was on Jon Porter’s staff when he joined up)
I’m not convinced this will be a huge issue directly for a lot of voters come November 2010.
It is, however, clearly a huge bonus for Alexi, in that any kind of media romance between Mark Kirk and the IL news establishment appears to be crashing and burning.
One of Alexi’s biggest problems heading into November was that a heck of a lot of IL journalists, editorialists and pundits just don’t seem to like him very much. And that tone of coverage was definitely seeping into how my Democratic friends talked about him. Kirk has now burned a lot of bridges with these opinion-makers too. Now that a lot of journalists think Kirk’s a liar, it’s gonna impact his coverage for the rest of the cycle.