Wednesday morning on Always Right Radio with Bob Frantz, weekday mornings on AM 1420 The Answer, host Frantz welcomed Republican candidate for Congress in District 9, J.R. Majewski, to the show to set the record straight on his combat veteran status amidst character-assassination attempts.
(Majewski clip plays)
Frantz: I love that. J.R. Majewski. A little levity to a very serious situation there as he appeared on Steve Bannon’s WarRoom: Pandemic, discussing the attacks on him and his military record, accusations that he is guilty of stolen valor for embellishing his service in Afghanistan as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
We are joined now by the GOP Trump-endorsed candidate for Congress in District Nine, facing lifer Marcy Kaptur. J.R. Majewski on AM 420 The Answer, good to have you on the program. How are you this morning?
Majewski: I’m doing great, Bob. Thanks for having me, buddy.
Frantz: I hate to do it this way, but where the hell is my barbecue?
Majewski: (Chuckles) Well, if you would have come out to Defiance, Ohio, last night, we had a heck of a time.
We shot probably 1,500 clays, maybe more, and we had some local barbecue and met a bunch of folks there, and I offered them to join me on the WarRoom. So we had a really good time last night.
Frantz: It really looked great, and it looked like they were having a great time. And it must feel good to have the kind of support that you do from the people in the community and, most importantly, in your district and what is essentially an extraordinary attempted character assassination.
So what I intend to do here, J.R., as I said to you yesterday, is I’m going to ask every tough question there is. I’m going to put it all out there, and I want everybody to hear the truth and the specifics. Much of what you gave to Steve Bannon, I want you to talk about here.
Much of what you gave to Greg Kelly on Newsmax I want to talk about here so that there can be no doubt and no dispute. Because I think you would agree. As a veteran, J.R., one of the worst things that I think anybody can do when it comes to scam or fraud is to engage in stolen valor.
You see these people from time to time panhandling or going to highly populated locations wearing a uniform that is not theirs and proclaiming to be a suffering, struggling, homeless veteran. Please give some money. And it’s just about as low as it gets. So what they’re accusing you of here is extraordinarily serious, isn’t it?
Majewski: Yes, absolutely. And they’ve gotten a lot of veterans that are just reading the headlines, and they’ve actually, I believe they’ve edited the article three or four times.
Frantz: There’s no doubt. People are responding, and people are responding on your behalf, including one of your colleagues, which we’ll talk about here in a moment. I want to give a summary, though, J.R., and get you to respond to just the summary as Yahoo reported it, citing the Associated Press. Here’s the way they phrase it.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday – and this is last Wednesday, one week ago today – that Majewski had misrepresented his military service. According to military records, he was primarily stationed at an Air Force base in Japan but served a six month deployment in Qatar, loading planes to support the Afghanistan war effort in 2002.
This is in contrast to the language of his campaign, where he refers to himself as a combat veteran, and a biography published by national Republicans referring to him as part of a squadron that was one of the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. J.R., let’s correct what needs to be corrected in that statement, if anything, before I start asking you specifics.
Majewski: Okay. So, as the Air Force confirmed, I was deployed to Qatar from May to November of ’02. I served with the 60th Aerial Port [Squadron] out of Travis Air Force Base.
But once I reached the Middle East, I was part of the 64th Air Expeditionary Group, and we were there in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
And our job was to fulfill outbound transport and move troops, move cargo, and everything that the four operating bases needed in the combat zones throughout the Middle East, and that included Afghanistan.
And I’ve just yesterday received a response from the Air Force, and they sent me my pay stubs showing that I received imminent danger pay, which, that qualifies me as a combat veteran.
Frantz: IDP, imminent danger pay. It means that you are literally in imminent danger, and that means you are. In fact, I was looking at some of the comments, J.R., about people who don’t like you, people who are supporters of Marcy Kaptur who are just grasping at anything they can to say that you’re a liar and you’re embellishing your record.
And they said, ask him if [he] shot anybody! I think this is in response to the abandoned thing. Ask him if he ever shot anybody, if he’s a combat veteran. That seems to be a common mistake. People think that you have to engage in firefights to be in a combat zone.
There are a lot of people in combat zones, making them combat veterans who don’t actually fire weapons, but who are there in various other roles like yours. Can you speak to that?
Majewski: Yes. I touched on some of the challenging aspects and the experiences that I had when I served in the Middle East, but I’ve never claimed to have served a rough combat tour in Afghanistan or that I was engaged in a firefight or I was Rambo, killed people with my bare hands. That never happened.
I mean, I was a young serviceman in a foreign land and had an assignment that put me in continual motion, and it came with periods of difficulty.
Any young man who’s in their early 20s serving in the Middle East without their friends and family in 125-plus degree heat is going to have a tough time. But at the end of the day, I never claimed to have a combat action badge that would designate me as being in a firefight. I’ve never made that claim.
Frantz: No. And that is different than being a combat veteran. One can be a combat veteran moving supplies, moving men, moving troops, providing transport into these combat zones, because guess what?
If there are troops that you are moving, there are troops that could be fired upon or can be in danger of IDs. All of these different things could happen to you, which is why it is a combat zone, which is why you received imminent danger pay. Now, J.R., so you came out with that form, or that pay stub, if you will, showing imminent danger pay, which means you were in combat or in a combat zone.
Why no other records? This is something I know Greg asked you and you’ve spoken to, and I want you to be as specific as you can, because your colleague and I know his face was blurred and his voice was distorted because he wants to maintain his privacy. But he came out and spoke in support of you and said you essentially did most of the same things that he did. You worked at the same time, at the same place. You were indeed in these combat zones.
But he’s got a big, long list of ribbons and accommodations and things that obviously mark his time in service and where he was and what he did. You don’t have those things. He explained why. I want you to explain why.
Majewski: Well, primarily because the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal wasn’t created until 2003. And I had already completed my duty and exited the service soon after. And I just never filled out the DD Form 249 to have my records updated.
And I firmly believe that this was a coordinated attack, because they know that it takes a minimum of six weeks to work through the Air Force Personal Records Center and apply for my DD 214 to be updated.
It gets into a process where veterans aren’t the priority, the active duty personnel, the people that are actually exiting the service, so they get lost in an administrative process.
Throughout the years, I’ve contacted the AFPRC, I’ve contacted the Veterans Administration and I’ve been consistently passed from one waiting phone call, one dial-pad phone call to an iPad operator that ultimately just tells me that’s not their department, I have to go call someone else. And I just lost the desire over the years to have that updated.
Listen to the interview:
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Photo “J.R. Majewski” by J.R. Majewski.