During the Vietnam War, Secretary of Defense Hagel served in the 9th Infantry Division from 1967 to 1968, reaching the rank of sergeant. He received two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He served in the same infantry squad as his brother, and they saved each other’s lives on different occasions.
Of the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) Senators who filibustered his nomination as Secretary of Defense 32 of the 43 have never served a day in uniform – not one day; of those who have two were/are JAG officers – not exactly combat duty – three served less than a year and were discharged, and only one is a fellow Vietnam Combat Veteran with Hagel.
Served – Lindsey Graham, Roger Wicker, Dan Coats, Jim Inhofe, Mitch McConnell, Mike Enzi, Johnny Isakson, Mark Kirk, John McCain, Pat Roberts and Jeff Sessions
Never served – John Cornyn, John Thune, John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, Jerry Moran, Richard Shelby, Jeff Flake, John Boozman, Marco Rubio, Saxby Chambliss, Mike Crapo, Jim Risch, Chuck Grassley, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, David Vitter, Deb Fischer, Dean Heller, Kelly Ayotte, Jeffrey Chiesa, Richard Burr, John Hoeven, Rob Portman, Tom Coburn, Pat Toomey, Tim Scott, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Ted Cruz, Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson.
To their immense credit, Susan Collins, Thad Cochran, Mike Johanns and Lisa Murkowski voted against their party’s filibuster.
It’s never surprising to see how the far-right always manages to have war hawks who have never served, and yet who will criticize the service of those who have.