Veterans question Senator’s military record, possible stolen valor

A dozen veterans have written a letter demanding Arizona State Senator Jeff Dial release his complete military records or submit to an ethics investigation.

The veterans were reacting to an article in The Arizona Republic that was critical of Dial’s performance in the military.  Despite the state senator’s campaign promoting his military service, the article noted that Dial could not recall crucial details about his activities in the U.S. Army Reserves.  He was also sidelined after failing a weight exam and was not called for duty, unlike other reservists, who were needed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Following up on the article, the group of veterans said that questions concerning Sen. Dial’s service needed to be addressed. The letter was sent to top Republican leaders, including Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs, and Arizona House Speaker David Gowan.

The letter said, “It is rare that a Veteran cannot remember his rank at discharge, the unit assigned or name of a commanding officer.” The letter has also requested an investigation be conducted if the senator’s records are not released, so it will be possible “to determine if Senator Dial is truly a veteran and can continue to use the title as he has for political and financial gain.”

The group of twelve veterans also created a webpage entitled “Release Your File Senator Dial.” The webpage features an online petition that other veterans can sign.

On Wednesday, Senator Dial showed his military records at a meeting with The Arizona Republic. However, he refused to allow the papers to be photographed or copied. His political consultant, Bert Coleman, stated that he did not want the Senator’s military records “floating around.”

According to military experts, Dial’s military records were incomplete, lacking many of the files of a typical veteran, such as annual training orders, pay records, evaluations, counseling statements, and reprimands.

The senator said that he got rid of his original files. Dial said, “Why would you save all that?” He claimed that he requested his military records in 2011 and showed all of these documents to reporters at the meeting.

In 2000, Senator Dial was involuntary transferred to the individual ready reserve because of “unsatisfactory participation.” He enrolled in a military weight program after being promoted to private first class in 1997. Although Dial claimed his transfer was due to weight issues, military experts have stated that “unsatisfactory participation” specifically means that someone did not follow orders or show up for drill. Dial said, “I don’t believe I missed any drill period.” The senator received an honorable discharge from the military.

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