Monday, July 20, 2015

Did Delegate David Vogt lie about his military service?

With this record he'd be damn stupid to.

(Disclosure: I'm friendly with David Vogt, but if I had confirmed the accusations...)

So someone (I haven't yet confirmed who) started a whisper campaign against Delegate David Vogt, state delegate currently running in MD-6. He was one of the first people to enter the MD-6 race, and the only one who ran in the primary against Dan Bongino in the previous cycle. (He dropped out to win his delegate seat.)

The campaign is very simple: Delegate Vogt, the whisper goes, is not a combat veteran. Del. Vogt's response was equally simple: he released what appears to be his entire military file. A look-through reveals no mention of participation of firefights or combat ops. (Though I may have missed them.) But the military defines "combat veteran" as anyone who served in a theater of combat operation, regardless of where within the theater they served.

This makes a degree of sense. If a paperwork processor in a military base grabs a rifle and joins a defense to repel an attack, that's combat. If a unit regularly patrols an area and is never attacked, they haven't been in direct combat. But the patrol unit is more likely to see combat, and is a combat position, so where do you draw the line?

Do you draw the line at the patrol unit unless an actual attack reaches further in? Does only a sustained attack, and not a suicide rush or fast raid count? What about an airstrike? Does the situation change if the base regularly comes under attack? Does the patrol unit stop counting if they are in a "safer" area? Do medical personnel count if they are treating combat injuries near a attack, or only if they themselves are taking fire?

Marine Corp doctrine is that every Marine is combat-ready, that they can grab a rifle and go now. Does that change the metric? What if it's Navy personnel at issue? Does their ship have to take fire, or just give it? What about aircraft carriers?

So the military's broad definition of "combat veteran" avoids all those complex and difficult questions by simply saying "Everyone in-theater counts". Relying on your own definition to call someone a liar is itself a lie. If you can make-up the meanings of words, well, everyone is lying! All the time! This is clearly not workable.

So why start this whisper campaign against Vogt's military service?

Because there's nothing else to attack.

He was commended many times for outstanding and excellent service, from his second-in-class Legal Services courses to loads of volunteer work and leadership within the Corp. He received awards ranging from simple letters of recognition to formal Meritorious Masts for his efforts. While at Camp Pendleton, he received both a "Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter" and "Volunteer of the Year".

He was commended multiple times as a "Poster Book", exemplary or otherwise ideal Marine. I will leave you with this, from his service record:

Poster book Marine NCO. I request SNM [refers to Vogt - JWB] by name to come TAD to MARCENT because during the reporting period MARCENT was the Consolidated Disposition Authority for 4 high profile military justice cases. From my previous assignment with SNM I knew he would be an asset to our efforts. He surpassed my expectations. SNM hit the deck running and immediately had a significant position impact on mission accomplishment. Despite being junior to the MARCENT Legal Chief, SNM set the example for his senior. SNM ran along aside the Legal Chief during the Legal Chief's annual PFT. SNM encouraged, paced and through his strength of character "willed" the Legal Chief to a respectable run time. Promote at earliest opportunity or in the alternative select for officer commissioning program.

You can say what you want about his ambition, which he has in spades, but I somehow doubt he helped his boss pass the boss's physical training requirements in 2007 to bolster his political career in 2015.
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