The following article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
Military veterans in Ohio are reacting with disappointment and anger following congressional candidate J.R. Majewski’s alleged misrepresentation of his Air Force service.
Military documents obtained by the Associated Press do not tell the story that Majewski has been sharing on his campaign trail.
Majewski won the Republican primary for Ohio’s 9th congressional district, which has parts of Ottawa, Sandusky and Erie counties.
The candidate from Toledo has been representing himself as an Air Force combat veteran who served in Afghanistan after 9/11. Northeast Ohio vets said he is acting against the Air Force honor code.
“I’m disappointed that anybody should claim more than what they did,” 30-year veteran Bob Shields of Bay Village said. “Take pride in what you did.”
Majewski’s military experience shows he was deployed but far away from any combat. He spent six months in Qatar loading planes, which Shields said is a valuable job but definitely not combat.
“Integrity always,” Shields added, referencing the Air Force honor code. “If he’s claiming something that he cannot support, he’s going against his core values.”
During a rally on Friday, the candidate doubled down on his claims.
“The orders and the military records that I’ve been able to obtain from my personnel files show that all my deployments are listed as classified,” Majewski said.
Both Republican and Democratic leaders seem to not be buying the story. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced it will cancel an approximate $1 million ad buy in the race.
“He just does a disservice to his brothers and sisters,” Shields said. “You don’t have to puff out your chest and say, ‘Well, I did this, but it’s a secret.’ No, it was not a secret.”
Veterans are asking for the documents that prove he was in Afghanistan, but until then, many are asking for an apology, saying this isn’t a party issue — but an issue of honesty and service.
“J.R. Majewski lying about fighting in combat absolutely disqualifies him from ever being able to serve in Congress,” said Lucas County Marine veteran Ralph Green.
The Majewski team reached out to News 5 to offer an interview with a service member it claimed would corroborate that Majewski served in Afghanistan. The interview would have to be conducted with the condition that News 5 not reveal who this person is, due to “concern about harassment,” according to a campaign spokesperson. News 5 declined that interview because it does not reach the station’s standards for providing anonymity.
We asked for additional information, such as a supervisor who was stationed in Afghanistan whose records prove that they were physically there, or for an on-camera interview with full documentation, but those requests were not answered by the Majewski campaign.
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