But that’s exactly what the Democrat did. He served on active duty from 1981-1989, and then in the reserves from 1989-1992. According to the Washington Post, the Army says he hasn’t worn the uniform since at least 2001.
The problem for the senior Cox Communications official is that he’s been telling people he’s still serving in the reserves. This claim was on his website, in campaign literature, and apparently in his professional biography and in other business communications.
It’s also something touted by the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus.
McCollum’s campaign said, “Today Gary was informed that his understanding of his current military classification was not correct,” and that he did not know he wasn’t in the reserves.
That’s complete and utter horse hockey. A summary of his service record, which The Bull Elephant has obtained, makes clear that he was not serving in the reserves at any time past June 1992. It is true that he was on Individual Ready Reserve from that time on until 2001, but that doesn’t equate to serving in “the reserves.” IRR means that you can be recalled to reserve duty in time of national emergency. In any case, even that service terminated 14 years ago.
So, McCollum hasn’t drilled, hasn’t worn a uniform, hasn’t had orders or reported to a duty station in at least 14 years, and almost certainly not for 23 years. Yet, he wants you to believe that he actually thought he was in the Army Reserves.
My friends, that’s just not plausible. Instead, what happened here is the McCollum got so used to telling this lie to his coworkers, business associates, civic organizations, maybe church groups, his old fraternity, maybe his old school, and who knows who else, that he became inured to the lie. Pulling back on it now would have been perhaps too conspicuous, so he just kept at it, hoping no one would call him on it.
Just one problem: there are only approximately a gazillion military, former military, and reservists in the Virginia Beach area. Someone was bound to notice the lie.
Not only does this lie and then the lie to try to excuse it demonstrate an incredible lack of good judgment, but they show a huge disrespect to the military services McCollum claims to honor. I join Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck, who earlier had this to say:
“Our active military and reservists put their lives on the line for this great Country. No area knows this better than the people of Virginia Beach and today’s revelation in The Virginia Pilot that 7th District Candidate, Democrat Gary McCollum has been falsifying his biography and his military record is repulsive. Falsely claiming to be a Major in the Army Reserves is an insult to veterans and automatic disqualification for public office. The Republican Party of Virginia calls on Mr. McCollum to withdraw from the race immediately.”