(DailyVantage.com) – Veterans from Michigan are criticizing a Democratic Congressional candidate after he wore part of a United States Army uniform while attending a Veterans Day celebration. The candidate in question is Curtis Hertel, a former Michigan state senator and current candidate for Michigan’s seventh Congressional District. Hertel never served in the military, prompting veterans to accuse him of stolen valor.
After Hertel’s appearance at the Veteran’s Day event, 28 veterans signed a letter addressed to Hertel. In the letter, the veterans accused Hertel of committing stolen valor because he wore a United States Army jacket. During the wreath-laying ceremony event, Hertel wore a fitness jacket with a United States Army logo on the chest. Veterans claim Hertel wore the jacket to appear as if he served in the military and are demanding an apology and acknowledgment from Hertel.
The veterans requested that Hertel publicly apologize to veterans from Michigan and elsewhere and clarify that he never served in the United States Army. The group of veterans also requests that Hertel avoid wearing Army-issued clothing moving forward to avoid any confusion about his lack of military service. The letter accuses Hertel of knowingly misrepresenting himself as an army veteran due to the connection between the Veteran’s Day event and Hertel’s attire. According to the letter, Hertel should know that wearing official Army attire would lead members of the general public to assume he spent time in the military.
The letter also mentions the era of clothing Hertel wore during the wreath-laying ceremony. Hertel wore an Army fitness jacket typically issued during the global war on terror, a period in which Hertel was eligible to serve. The letter also claims that Hertel must know someone who actively served during the global war on terror, as the United States Army only issued the jacket to active service members. The veterans claim that due to this, Hertel knew the jacket was considered an official uniform and thus was aware of any potential stolen valor by wearing it.
The United States Army’s regulations lay out rules regarding when veterans can wear the jacket worn by Hertel. According to the United States Army, the jacket isn’t appropriate for memorials, weddings, or funerals, among other events. Hertel responded to the controversy by claiming he received the letter from his brother-in-law, an active member of the United States Army.
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