This week news outlets across the country have been reporting on Trump-endorsed J.R. Majewski’s military service record and whether or not he is a combat veteran. On Friday, Business Insider became the latest to publish a hit piece questioning Majewski’s veteran status.
According to the Majewski campaign and military documents leaked by the Associated Press, Majewski while serving in the United States Airforce was deployed to Qatar in May of 2002, just 8 months after terrorists attacked the United States killing over 2,000 civilians and first responders. According to the personal records reviewed by Citizen Stringer, Majewski was deployed in May as part of the 60th Air Mobility Operations Group with a 2T251 MOS where he would perform and manage air transportation activities in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. According to personal records reviewed, he served in Qatar from May 2002 until November 2002. What he did while on base was not accounted for in the AP document leak. Majewski claims he ran several missions into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Business Insider questions this, arguing that had Majewski actually served in Afghanistan “he would almost certainly be a recipient of the Combat Action Ribbon.” This is FALSE. The Airforce Combat Action Ribbon was first issued to Airmen on June 12th, 2007. Majewski left the Air Force in 2003, and although the Airforce Combat Action Ribbon was retroactive for service members from September 11th, 2001, airmen would have to fill out lengthy paperwork to get that award and have the commendation added to their military records. Majewski stated at a press conference he never filed the paperwork to have this accommodation added to his service records. Citizen Stringer has spoken with numerous service members who have all confirmed they were also eligible for these awards but declined to go through the process to have them added to their personal files.
Business Insider further questions Majewski’s service overseas writing “significant service in Afghanistan would have resulted in earning the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.” This is also FALSE. While servicemembers would be required to have spent 30 consecutive days in Afghanistan in order to qualify for this medal, this medal was also not available to Majewski at his departure from service. The Afghanistan Campaign Medal was first issued in June of 2005, two years after Majewski left the service. Just like the Airforce Combat Action Ribbon, Majewski would have to fill out lengthy paperwork to be awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, if eligible, as it too was retroactive. Citizen Stringer again spoke to numerous veterans who served from 2002-2005 and never received this medal as they left service before the first award and did not file paperwork to have it reflected on their records.
Business Insider then goes on to write if Majewski truly served in Afghanistan he would have received the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, which they write “is given to troops, including aircrews, who have deployed abroad in support of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars and served at least 30 days in that deployment.” They go on to write that the award “is common among veterans who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and public data shows that Majewski worked as an airman who supported passenger loading and unloading out of Qatar in support of various wars.” Business Insider again left out crucial information regarding this medal. This medal, like the previous two medals, was first awarded in 2004, a year after Majewski left the service. Like all the other medals mentioned here, a veteran could fill out lengthy paperwork to have this medal retroactively applied to their personal records, but many veterans did not do that.
Had Business Insider chosen to do a complete reporting of these medals, including the first awarded dates, their story likely would not have made such an impact. By leaving out these crucial facts, the inference that Majewski is making up his service history is clearly implied. Citizen Stringer has reached out to Business Insider’s Azmi Haroun and Sam Fellman for comment. Both writers and their editors declined to comment, or in the least, update their stories to reflect the truth.
One must ask why these reporters choose the leave out the crucial first awarded dates of each of these medals and ribbons. Surely a news outlet would strive to report actual facts, rather than half-truths in an effort to tell a particular story. It is clear that Business Insider left out these dates, and the specific process for a former service member to update his records after service in an effort to sway the voting populous in Ohio into believing Majewski lied about his service. It is shameful.