Letter: Joni Ernst is not a combat veteran

Joni Ernst claims to be a “Combat Veteran.” That claim implies that her mission was to actively engage the enemy in combat. However, Mrs. Ernst is not a member of any “combat arms” unit. Infantry, artillery and armor are combat arms units. Mrs. Ernst was the Commanding Officer of Transportation Company. This company was responsible for the delivery of water, fuel and other supplies to units in secure areas. Joni Ernst did not lead her troops into combat, as one of her ads claims. Mrs. Ernst’s troops were not combat personnel, and their mission was not combat. Essentially, Mrs. Ernst was in charge of a group of truck drivers. I am sure that the mission of supply delivery had many potential hazards, but driving trucks from one secure area to another secure area is not combat, even if personnel were armed with M16s.  

As an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, I was awarded the CIB, Combat Infantryman Badge, to signify my participation in combat. The photos of Mrs. Ernst in uniform shows that this award is absent. Any claims that she is a “Combat Veteran” seem to be a greatly overstated misrepresentation and perhaps a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There is a distinct and obvious difference between those who served as combatants and those serving as support personnel. Mrs. Ernst and her soldiers served an important support role but not a combat role. This overstatement of service and accomplishments to gain political advantage does harm to those veterans that served and actually were “Combat Veterans.”

If this is an example of the honesty she promises Iowans, I say no thank you.