Republican Council Candidate David Oh’s Military Service Called into Question
In case you’ve been living under a rock (or just aren’t that into reading Republican City Council news), Council candidate and Republican frontrunner David Oh faced down some serious allegations about his allegations – and, if you’re to believe the news coming out of the Media Holdings building, as well as some national sources and Oh’s own words (that’s a lot), they’re all true.
It goes like this: Since his political career began, say, eight years ago, Oh has apparently been telling everyone he was a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and a Green Beret who did not see combat in Desert Storm. This, it turns out, is not true. Oh was actually in a unit that supported the Special Forces, according to Military.com (yes, that military.com; ouch!) and got to wear a literal green beret because it was “organizational headgear,” Sgt. Jeff “JD” Hinton told the site. He still owns the thing, apparently, and writes on his website’s bio, “He qualified for Officer Candidate’s School, was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and joined the U.S. Army Special Forces (Airborne).”
An administrator on SOCnet, a Special Forces website, got hold of the information that Oh apparently lied, and things got a little wild, at least for Internet arguments. Commenters there – many of whom claim to be currently deployed overseas – referred to Oh as “another one,” which in this case means someone who fakes being in the military for political gain. Oh created an account at SOCnet after the criticism mounted, attempted to explain himself, at one point tried to blame Daily News reporter Chris Brennan for the quabble and issued an apology. He also claimed his “political opponents” have been working on exposing these series of lies for the past eight months, as an excuse.
His apologies appeared both on the message board and his Facebook page, which had been ransacked by outrageous Outrages and were later printed by the Daily News, and now here:
“I did not appreciate the lines I was crossing. In retrospect, I thank you for your patience in not pounding me sooner or more severely…I am NOT a Green Beret (SF Tab). I apologize for any actions or statements that may have misled people. I did not respect that matter enough despite my utmost esteem for you gentlemen. And, yes, my ‘thin’ connection with you has been an honor and a life’s experience I greatly value.”
Oh made several claims to SOCnet, including the likely erroneous allegation that his website had been hacked by political opponents, which would explain their eight months worth of work. When a user demanded Oh issue an apology, the Council candidate responded, “I don’t know you and guess I would much care for you if I did. I try my best to make amends for my errors” and then put out the apology. When that apology wasn’t good enough for one user on the site, Oh edited it according to the user’s wishes and said he was submitting that version to the Daily News and Inquirer.
Oh, of course, is not the first politician to lie about military service. Not too long ago, the New York times reported on how now-Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut creepily lied about serving in Vietnam, with lines like “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam” at veterans’ ceremonies in the state, when he actually received five deferments. A former Rep. from Colorado, Wes Cooley, used to tell people he served in Korea and that the only reason no one could find his military records was because his missions were…wait for it…top secret! (He served one term.)
Even Ronald Reagan, the worst U.S. president of all time, was found to have confused scenes which happened during his acting career with his real life, once claiming he helped liberate Auschwitz when, in actuality, he never left the United States during World War II.
“The issue in the Philadelphia Daily News regarding David Oh is a quibble over who is a “real” Green Beret,” former Republican mayoral candidate John Featherman tells PW. “While Oh never said he was on an “A” team, David was clearly a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces unit, and he served our country admirably. Ultimately, what we should all care about is what’s best for Philadelphia — I believe that David Oh is best for Philadelphia.”
Yes, the “Did he or did he not say he was on an A-team?” makes things a bit more confusing.
Either way, Retired Army Bridage General Bruce B. Bingham told Military.com Oh was “seriously out of order” and his service “does not give him the right to wear the beret after leaving that unit or after leaving the service when wearing his uniform.”