Marine officer ruffling feathers in Congress, smokes e-cigs and plays with fidget spinner

Congressman Duncan Hunter vaping during a Congressional Hearing. (Screenshot from video below)

The phrase “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” is true no matter where you go, and is kicked up a few notches when referring to men of more combat-oriented fields such as infantry, artillery or force reconnaissance.

Heck, it even applies to officers- just look at Congressman Duncan Hunter.

A Republican from California and only forty years of age, Hunter is already a bit of a rarity on the political spectrum who has represented Cali’s 50th congressional district in San Diego County.

Born in San Diego, Hunter went to school at San Diego University and worked in information technology until September 11, 2001. The day after the attacks, he quit his job, joined the Marines and went to Officer Candidates School in Virginia.

Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March of 2002, Lieutenant Hunter served as a field artillery officer in the 1st Marine Division, deploying to Iraq in 2003. Later, he would complete a second tour in Fallujah with the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines in 2004, participating in the First Battle of Fallujah, a nearly four-week operation aimed at rooting out extremists from the hotbed city.

In September of 2005, Hunter hung up his uniform, at least full time. Still a member of the Marine Corps Reserve, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and currently holds the rank of Major.

When his father -Representative Duncan Lee Hunter- announced he would not seek re-election in 2008, the young Iraq veteran threw his hat in the ring, defeating a fellow Iraq veteran in the race and eventually becoming the first combat veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan to serve in the US Congress.

Despite officially being “over the hill,” Hunter is known as a hard-charging congressman who speaks his mind, takes action and -unsuprisingly- can be a little “out there” at time.

“Duncan’s a different breed,”Washington Examiner commenter Philip Wegmann wrote of the congressman in the summer of 2017. “He’s young, brash, and apparently a little absent-minded. When other members of Congress chug coffee to stay awake during committee hearings, Hunter plays with fidget spinners and puffs on an e-cigarette like some sort of futuristic bounty hunter with attention deficit disorder.”

In January, Hunter was disgusted by a painting in the Capitol Building that portrayed police as wild boars gunning down minorities and protesters.

“As an American citizen and a former Marine who supports law enforcement, I took matters into my own hands,” he wrote.

Simply put, he took the painting down and returned it to Representative Lacy Clay of Missouri, the representative of the district in Missouri where the painting came from.
When the painting was re-mounted, it was removed several times afterwards until a solution was devised.

Hunter even got away with calling President Donald Trump an “asshole,” telling a group of Young Republicans that “He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”

Currently, Hunter is serving on the Armed Services, Education and the Workforce and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, where he’s done everything prevent a ban on tobacco use by service members on bases and ships (indicating that he believes service members should be able to make their own choices regarding use of tobacco) and pushing for a revamping of the Medal of Honor award system, advocating on behalf of several notable heroes who were denied the award. More recently, he is one of several congressmen who oppose backpay for deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

Outside of military affairs, Hunter is also a co-sponsor on H.R.38- a high-profile bill better known as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which has just made it to the floor in the House of Representatives.

In layman’s terms, the bill (if passed into law) would change the current concealed carry “reciprocity” system (where states pick and choose which other state permits they want to honor), effectively treating a permit the same as a driver’s license. By doing this, the law would allow permit-holders to lawfully carry in any state unmolested, provided they obeyed local laws and restrictions.

As of Tuesday, the bill was approved by The House Judiciary Committee and will move on to the House floor.

From protecting a service member’s right to dip on deployment to sitting in Congress with a fidget spinner and a bit of a sharp tongue, Hunter is a clear example of how grunts will always be grunts, going against the grain -if they feel they must- to accomplish what they believe in and get things done.

Hunter’s current awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with one service star), Iraq Campaign Medal (with two service stars) the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (with two service stars)

Vape on, Major. Vape on.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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