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Mich Dem Senate Nominee Gary Peters Exaggerated & Misrepresented Military Service Record

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An exclusive investigation by Breitbart’s Matt Boyle has uncovered extensive evidence that Michigan Democratic Senate nominee Congressman Gary Peters exaggerated and misrepresented his military service record on the campaign trail.

Military community leaders, including one of his former commanding officers, said Peters’ military service record jacket, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Department of the Navy and provided exclusively to Breitbart News, shows a man who had a broken service record that was substandard, one of his indirect commanding officers, retired Navy Commander Jim Semerad, said in an interview with Breitbart News.

“Gary was pretty much a warm body in virtually all of the units I saw him assigned to,” Semerad said when reached by phone early Thursday. “He was never selected for anything.”

And Semerad is not the only one speaking out.

Boyle reports former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, is raising concerns about Peters’ record as are Retired Navy Captain Joseph John, the head of the group Combat Veterans For Congress, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) military expert.

“Gary Peters has misled Michigan voters on his military service record,” John said in an emailed statement to Matt Boyle. “While we certainly appreciate everyone who enlists and serves on behalf of our country, on the campaign trail Congressman Peters, to put it mildly, has repeatedly made less than accurate statements about his time in the Naval Reserve and said things that aren't necessarily true about his qualifications in the Naval Reserves.”

"As a career active duty Army officer and former Congressman, it always concerns me when those running for political office misrepresent their military service record,” former Florida GOP West added. “The case of now Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut comes to mind.”

“Peters said when he was in the U.S. Navy Reserve, he was qualified as an expert marksman in the M16 rifle and 9mm pistol,” the Detroit Free Press reported in February 2013.

According to Boyle’s reporting, Peters’ record jacket shows that not only is that not true—but Peters actually made up a new, cooler-sounding firearms qualifications level for his campaign. Peters was never an “expert marksman” in either firearm category because there is no such category of qualification. In reality, according to military records, Peters was a “sharpshooter”—a lower military qualification than “expert”—in both M16 rifle and 9 MM pistol.

“In the case of Michigan Congressman Gary Peters I found his claims about his personal weapons qualifications perplexing,” West told Breitbart News. “First of all professional officers rarely tout weapon qualification badges. Secondly, there are three levels of weapon qualification -- marksman, sharpshooter, and expert -- Rep. Peters claims to be an ‘expert marksman’ which does not exist. This leads one to believe that if one would embellish something so trivial what else could also be questionable.”

Perhaps more drastic than his make believe firearms qualifications levels says Boyle, Peters has claimed that he was a Seabee in the Navy. That’s technically not true. He was never a Seabee in the Navy, says Joseph John—a retired Navy Captain who now runs the group Combat Veterans For Congress.

“I think about the training that I had as a Seabee — it’s very helpful for me in public service and the U.S. Senate,” Peters told a group of veterans at American Legion Post 426 in Trenton, MI, in early 2014, according to

Peters wasn’t really a Seabee, John says—he was an Assistant Supply Officer who was at one point assigned to the Seabee unit. The Seabees are an elite unit of combat-trained Naval engineers who build bridges, living quarters, airstrips and more in combat zones and harsh environments so U.S. forces can move into a region. Technically, Peters can claim he worked alongside the Seabees—but his officer designator code is one for the Supply Corps, not one for the Civil Engineer Corps of which the Seabees are a part.

Semerad also has serious issues with how Peters characterized his role for the unit on the campaign trail. For Peters’ claim that he built bridges, Semerad says that’s not true. Peters never built any bridges, Semerad said, and he certainly never was going to be “getting shot at.” He bought steel, concrete and other supplies from behind a desk in an office somewhere so “the other guys”—the members of the Seabee unit he served alongside—could build bridges.

“He’s purchasing the supplies for the other guys to build bridges and it’s not likely he’s ever getting shot at,” Semerad said in a follow up phone interview with Breitbart.

“He’s back in an office in a safe place. He is in an office on a computer and on the telephone. My friend just came back from Afghanistan—she’s a supply officer. I know dozens of supply officers who went to Iraq. I can tell you that some of the supply officers in the early days of Iraq did get shot at, but that’s not normal. I seriously doubt he was getting shot at—especially if he was only deployed for 30 days. It’s not likely in 30 days he would even be put in a combat role because before they even put you in the role where you are at the slightest risk of getting shot at you have to go through a six-week expeditionary combat school. I seriously doubt he was in any position whatsoever to get shot at.”

Because that statement he made about learning to “build bridges while getting shot at” is false, John is calling on Peters to retract it and apologize to voters in Michigan.

Ron Dickey, the Democratic nominee for Mississippi’s first congressional district got caught in a similar situation after the Mississippi Democratic Primary. Dickey misled voters in his state about his military record—claiming he was a Green Beret, when in fact he was simply a “food service specialist”—or line cook—for a Green Beret unit. While he hasn’t dropped out of the race—his name is still on the ballot—Democrats in Mississippi, particularly state party chairman Rickey Cole, called on Dickey to drop out.

CHQ Editor George Rasley, told Breitbart's Matt Boyle Democrats should likewise call on Gary Peters to drop out of the race in Michigan.

"Being in the Reserve is a perfectly honorable way to serve the country, but Gary Peters' phony story line about his military service goes beyond exaggeration into just plain fabrication, and it fits a pattern Democrats have established now that national security has become an issue in the midterm election,” Rasley told Breitbart News. “What Democrats like Gary Peters and Ron Dickey down in Mississippi are trying to do is create a false narrative about their military service to hide from voters the fact that their support for Barack Obama's failed national security policies have endangered the country. At least in Mississippi the Democrats had the integrity to tell Ron Dickey to get out of the race when the truth about his military service came out, the Democrats in Michigan should do the same with Peters.”

Click this link to read the full text of Matt Boyle's exclusive investigation of how Michigan Democratic Senate nominee Gary Peters exaggerated and misrepresented his military service record on the campaign trail.

Call the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at (202) 224-2447 and tell them to have the integrity to drop Gary Peters just like the Mississippi Democrats demanded that Ron Dickey drop out when it was discovered he had exagerated his military service record.

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