by Victor Peña
As a constituent and voter of the 5th Congressional District of Virginia, I have been following carefully the campaigns of both candidates seeking to represent our District. Congressman Robert Hurt has a clear and open record to run on and a case for his reelection for all to discern.
As a former Company Commander in Vietnam, I was particularly interested in Brigadier General (Retired) John Douglass because of his service in uniform. My interest has been piqued by a statement he made about his service. During the second debate on October 15, 2012, in Warrenton, VA, with Congressman Robert Hurt, General Douglass stated that his most difficult decision made in a leadership position was to tell a young soldier to “son get out there on point and you know he might never come back” … “some of my kids got really hurt, OK? Going to visit them in the hospital after they were hurt, painful, so you know politicians [or did he say politics?] can’t compare to that.” (see video below)
These remarks taken at face value would describe a veteran who has been in or seen combat first hand. On looking at, and through, General Douglass’s career, there is no mention of his ever being assigned, or having served in combat, or a combat role. His early service is demonstrably as an acquisition or procurement officer. Then if one looks at his picture in the U. S. Air Force Biographies of Leaders, General Douglass does not wear any combat, or combat campaign, awards or decorations.
As a Vietnam Veteran, I proudly wear two awards (Ribbons) for my service in Vietnam. The Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. These are distinctive in color and design, and as shown are not evident on General Douglass’s uniform.
I commend your 29 years of service as I only served 26, and my question is honest. Brigadier General (Retired) Douglass: Where and when and under what circumstances can you make the statement that you sent an Air Force airman “on point”?