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Irvin’s combat veteran status

Tuesday, Mar 8, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Richard Irvin to reporters last night

I am a combat veteran who served our country in war.

* From the US Department of Veterans Affairs

Documentation Used To Determine Service in a Theater Of Combat Operations

    • Military service documentation that reflects service in a combat theater, or
    • receipt of combat service medals, and/or Page 1 of 3
    • receipt of imminent danger or hostile fire pay or tax benefits.

* Hill and Ponton law firm

Evidence to Show You Were in Combat […]

Examples of supporting evidence include:

    1. Combat military occupational specialty (MOS);
    2. the grant of certain awards such as the Combat Infantry Badge, Medal of Honor, and Purple Heart (among many other awards);
    3. Evidence that the veteran received hazardous duty pay;
    4. Buddy statements about combat.

* Equal Justice Works

You can determine where they participated in combat operations by looking in Section 18 of the DD 214. This section should say that they “served in a designated imminent danger pay area.”

* Irvin’s campaign has previously said and his DD 214 shows he received the Southwest Asia Service Medal

The Southwest Asia Service Medal (SWASM) was established by Executive Order 12754, March 12, 1991. It is awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in Southwest Asia and contiguous waters or airspace thereover, on or after August 2, 1990 to November 30, 1995. Southwest Asia and contiguous waters, as used herein, is defined as an area which includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, that portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees N. latitude and west of 68 degrees E. longitude, as well as the total land areas of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.

According to Irvin’s documentation (which I agreed not to share publicly because it contains private information), Irvin was stationed in Saudi Arabia from January 8, 1991 To May 3, 1991. Service in that country during that period of time qualified soldiers for Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay.

So, yeah, Irvin qualifies to use that description of himself. Whether his experience lives up to his dramatic TV ad will be up to others to decide.


  1. - Chito - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    Can you share his MOS?

  2. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    Was anyone questioning this, or are we all just a little extra sensitive after Sullivan stole some valor?

  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:32 pm:

    I do believe a lil of this was, not just to highlight Irvin, but to left-handedly have real questions to Sullivan’s stolen valor and narrative to his own “combat”

  4. - Union thug - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:33 pm:

    Just because you was in an area doesn’t mean you was in combat.
    For example I served during the first gulf war, doesn’t mean I served IN that war.

  5. - TheInvisibileMan - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:35 pm:

    At least he has receipts.

    Is he learning quickly?

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:36 pm:

    === a little extra sensitive after Sullivan===


  7. - low level - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:40 pm:

    God Bless him for his service, and I truly mean that, but in the 1st Persian Gulf war US and coalition forces were rarely in any real danger. Irwin uses that one video which I think is of a Scud missile, which were almost always hopelessly off target. Come on, man.

    Most of the Iraqi forces surrendered immediately. Anyone over 40 will remember it well.

  8. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    In the interest of bipartisanship, perhaps Mayor Irvin would agree to have Sen. Hastings, a veteran who unquestionably saw combat (he engaged a hostile enemy on the battlefield), review the paperwork and render an opinion.

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:46 pm:

    ===review the paperwork===

    The paperwork is straight-forward.

  10. - Raising Kane - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:49 pm:

    Thank you for your service Mayor.

  11. - Alice Childress - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    Pretty simple, find and speak to soldiers who served with him overseas. Problem solved.

  12. - H-W - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:56 pm:

    @ low level - Your suggestion that veterans can be divided into the deserving and the undeserving is offensive. Just because an enemy force may be poorly trained and organized, does not mean that the veterans service is less worthy. Hopefully, you did not mean to criticize veterans based on the abilities of enemy combatants to win.

  13. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 12:56 pm:

    Irvin did not write the qualifications the government did. If he qualifies he qualifies there does not seem to be degrees. So thank you for your service and I mean that.

  14. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:04 pm:

    On his website, he describes himself as a “decorated combat veteran.”

    The intent is to imply he directly engaged the enemy in battle. That’s a better story.

    What’s going on here is lawyering what combat is.

    Maybe that would work in an actual courtroom with a judge. Don’t think it will work in the courtroom of public opinion.

    Rauner’s campaign team abetted their candidate’s lies. Now the same crew is doing the same for Irvin and counting on Griffin’s money to paper it all over.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:06 pm:

    First, thank you for your service Mr. Irvin.

    By every measure, including the measure of the US Military, Mr. Irvin served, and did so as described.


    I never wore our country’s uniform, let alone wore it during hostilities, overseas, and at the direction of the Pentagon.

    Questioning Mr. Irvin here, or, I could make a case it’s worse, marginalizing service to what one might say is, or isn’t, in harms way… stop… the man served, he has the documents and his story, and for me, that’s more than I have done.

  16. - MaddyMoon - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:11 pm:

    =Maybe that would work in an actual courtroom with a judge=

    now that the record is clear, he will not be receiving attacks from the left or the right on his service record. so why are you?

  17. - Mason born - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:14 pm:

    So he served in a forward deployed area during a time of war and qualifies as a combat veteran. Good for him, he deserves a our gratitude.

    I’d be careful about arguing he’s exaggerating his service if your candidate was sitting at home watching from the sideline. Kind of leads to the “And what were you doing while your country was at war,” question.

  18. - OneMan - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:16 pm:

    I am going to suggest that the argument of ‘how combat was the combat?’ isn’t going to be a winner here.

    There was a guy on my dorm floor who had served in Grenada and I doubt anybody would have used the ‘well it was short’ argument. Also speaking for dudes of a certain age (I was in college at that time) we saw plenty of classmates who were doing the reserve/guard thing to pay for college just leave one day to be deployed. If the DoD says you get Hostile Fire Pay, that’s good enough for me.

  19. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:38 pm:

    There is plenty to question Irvin about… but this likely isn’t it. His years of criminal defense, and soliciting for what may have been some of the worst of the lot is much more of a question for the tough on crime candidate.

  20. - low level - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:44 pm:

    Irwin wore the uniform and served. I admire him for that. The issue is his playing himself up to be this big heroic veteran in the ad.

  21. - walker - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:46 pm:

    Mr Ervin volunteered and served his country in a “combat zone.” He could well have came under some sort of enemy fire. Thank you sir.

    Same exact reaction to Mr. Sullivan’s service from outside the military. Thank you as well.

    Campaign messaging is a tarpit.

  22. - low level - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 1:52 pm:

    Ill take someone like Richard Ogilvie any day. Probably no one remembers him, but I’ll mention him anyway. Ogilvie was wounded so badly in WW2 he couldn’t smile. Yet he always downplayed his service.

  23. - Real - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:01 pm:

    As a veteran who served Operation Endiring Freedom I see no wrong in questioning a open fib teller like Ken Dunkin 2.0

  24. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:02 pm:

    My grandpa was a WWII veteran. His 18th birthday was a month shy of VJ day. He was barely in basic training when the war ended. He is still a WWII vet. Richard Irvin is a combat veteran. There simply is no denying it. Seems fruitless to try.

  25. - Nuke The Whales - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:13 pm:

    “You are technically correct, the best kind of correct.” –Number 1.0

  26. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:16 pm:

    =“decorated combat veteran.”=

    He is a veteran. I appreciate that.

    He continues to portray himself as kicking down crack house doors and his portrayal of his activities while in the service seems exaggerated. He does not need to do that but he is. Leads me to further question his honestly.

    No need to lie, he volunteered to join the Army.

    With respect.

  27. - Red Ketcher - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:18 pm:

    ” In the Rear with the Beer ” was a saying used by Infantrymen in The Field to describe the Rear Echelon types serving at Basecamps .

    But all got Combat Pay whether carrying a Machine Gun or manning a Typewriter.

    So, There’s Combat & There’s Combat

    Appears Irvin is free to use the word
    And the reader or listener is free to define it

    ( given a choice take the beer )

  28. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:18 pm:

    ==I see no wrong in questioning a open fib teller like Ken Dunkin 2.0 ==

    Put that way, I get it. He has lost the benefit of the doubt.

    But it looks like he has the goods, so…

  29. - Excessively Rabid - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:20 pm:

    ==Whether his experience lives up to his dramatic TV ad will be up to others to decide.==

    I’ve decided. He’s puffing. A lot.

  30. - Flapdoodle - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    Writing as a veteran here: Mr. Irvin served in a combat area, thus he fully deserves the associated service medal (Southwest Asia Service Medal). This does not mean he is a combat veteran, for which he would also have been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge or the Combat Action Badge. Serving in a combat area certainly deserves recognition, but one can do so without being in actual combat. This is a distinction familiar to any veteran.

    It’s worth noting that Mr. Irvin received three additional service or commendation medals, none of which entail combat action but which nonetheless deserve respect.

  31. - Atta boy - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 2:35 pm:

    The problem with attacking the ad is you only have the high ground (pun intended) if your candidate served. Otherwise it’s a tough tough look. Is Schimph a veteran?

  32. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 3:00 pm:

    He served in a combat area. Good. His puffery diminishes that service.

  33. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 3:11 pm:

    =Serving in a combat area certainly deserves recognition, but one can do so without being in actual combat. This is a distinction familiar to any veteran.=

    Son of a vet, son-in-law of a vet. My father did not serve in combat my father in law did. It’s a very important distinction to both of them. They don’t muddy that water with what they did or saw.

    Right now I feel that with out greater clarity from Mr. Irvin, his ad makes it very hard to understand what he did and what he was faced with. Served, yes. Veteran, yes. Combat, far from clear.

  34. - H-W - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 3:53 pm:

    @ low level - I can agree with your two follow-up posts. I too prefer humility. But as veterans (you, and me), I am sure we can agree a lot of veterans are “less than humble” when in the military. I apologize is if offended you with my tenor. I served in the Army during peacetime, and not even that long. It took until I was 60 years old before I could openly suggest that I was a veteran, since I know too many people who served during combat eras. It wasn’t until my older uncle said, (a) do you have a DD-214, and (b) did you swear the oath, that decided to come out of the closet, so to speak. Thank you for you service, Low Level.

  35. - 47th and Lake Park - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 4:24 pm:

    Calling himself a “decorated combat veteran” is intentionally misleading. Makes him sound like John Wayne.Veterans know the difference. It fits with his dramatic commercials.

  36. - low level - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 4:45 pm:

    H-W, thank you but just to be clear: I didnt serve. I desperately wanted to. I was a big fan of Reagan’s foreign policy and was (and still am w recent events) a cold warrior at heart. Think Scoop Jackson type of Democrat

    I couldnt pass the physical, however. Im insulin dependent diabetic. I made sure I learned every type of western and east bloc military equipment.

    I guess others have expressed my issue with Irwin’s ad better than I did. And I certainly respect where you are coming from and your points were well taken.

  37. - 47 Indian - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 5:02 pm:

    In his radio ad playing on a Champaign station, Mr. Irvin says that he was “decorated for bravery”. As a veteran, I applaud his service, and the fact that he served in a combat zone. But I would hope he would provide some information to support the “decorated for bravery” statement.

  38. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 6:53 pm:

    The whole thing is an unforced error. If he would have stated that he was a veteran, that would have been enough to earn respect and appreciation. But making it sound like he was in the line of fire diminishes his service because he exaggerated.

  39. - Jenny Clarke - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 7:16 pm:

    Thank you for your service, Mr. Irvin. However your vitriol is anything but desired. And embellishments are a sad way to try and win a campaign. Shame on your campaign for their strategy.

  40. - SandyC - Tuesday, Mar 8, 22 @ 9:03 pm:

    It doesn’t really matter how he chooses to run. I get people don’t care for him. However, the fact remains…he’s a veteran. He served in a combat/high risk area. Rather than many questioning his service, thank him. All this does is create division once again. He has a right to be proud of signing up to die for his country.

    A military wife of a 100% service connected veteran
    (Do I need to show proof) 🤷‍♀️

  41. - DMAC57 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 8:40 am:

    There is a difference between staying with the gear in the rear versus those at the tip of the spear doing the actual fighting. Sadia Arabias was safe and secure. Hussein would never threaten that nation. Depicting combat when you were in the comfort of your hooch is mis-leading.

  42. - 60089 - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 5:39 pm:

    Most of Iraq’s Scud missiles were into Saudi Arabia.
    Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia during the war in 1991. American soldiers were killed and captured inside Saudi Arabia.

    I remember all this and I was 12 at the time.

  43. - John B - Wednesday, Mar 9, 22 @ 10:17 pm:

    Your article leaves out numerous key tidbits that might shed light. Irvin’s MOS? Decorated? With fairly low level awards such as AAM and ACM, any ‘V’ device on said awards? CIB awarded? You may not know what this acronyms mean but they would be spelled out in sec 13 of his DD-214.

  44. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 6:02 am:

    ===numerous key tidbits that might shed light===

    He falls within the legal guidelines for claiming combat veteran status. The finer points may be up for debate, but that’s not the issue here.

  45. - 47 Indian - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 6:25 am:

    “- Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 6:02 am:

    ===numerous key tidbits that might shed light===

    He falls within the legal guidelines for claiming combat veteran status. The finer points may be up for debate, but that’s not the issue here.”

    Not questioning his claiming combat veteran status, but as John B noted, there is a significant difference between being decorated and being decorated for bravery. If Mr. Irvin was, in fact, decorated for bravery, it should be no problem for him or his team to provide documentation. If that can’t be verified, that is stolen valor, and should be called out.

  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 6:37 am:

    ===decorated for bravery===

    Irvin never claimed that, to my knowledge. If he did, you’d have a point. Since he didn’t, you don’t.

  47. - 47 Indian - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 5:29 pm:

    - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 10, 22 @ 6:37 am:

    ===decorated for bravery===

    Irvin never claimed that, to my knowledge. If he did, you’d have a point. Since he didn’t, you don’t.”

    Maybe the Irvin radio spot I heard isn’t being used in the Springfield area. I have heard it on WDWS AM 1400, which serves the Champaign area, for more than a week. Today I heard it at 8:54 am, 10:08 am, 11:32 am and 1:23 pm; it may have run at other times I missed. The spot starts out with “joined the Army out of high school, served in Desert Storm, decorated for bravery”. It finishes with, “Paid for by Irvin for Illinois”. If Mr. Irvin isn’t claiming he was decorated for bravery, someone certainly is on his behalf.

  48. - 11C2P - Tuesday, Mar 15, 22 @ 9:43 am:

    According to Mr. Irvin’s LinkedIn profile he was an Army truck driver “Motor Transport Operator” during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. MOS was 64C or 88M.

    Military Veteran, Transportation Specialist, E-4Military Veteran, Transportation Specialist, E-4
    United States ArmyUnited States Army
    1988 - 1991 · 3 yrs1988 - 1991 · 3 yrs
    U.S. ArmyU.S. Army
    -Schweinfurt, Germany: Armor Unit, transported tank weaponry for covert military operations.
    -Saudi Arabia: Transported supplies and personnel to frontline during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

    Decorations, Medals, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
    –Honorable Discharge
    –Army Commendation Medal
    –2 Army Achievement Medals
    –National Defense Service Medal
    –Southwest Asia Service Medal
    –Army Good Conduct Awards
    –Army and Overseas Service Ribbons

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