It seems that GOP candidate Carl Paladino’s mouth has gotten him in trouble again. A report published today in the New York Post, says claims made by Paladino's campaign that the gubernatorial candidate took part in six months of active Army service and commanded 250 men at Fort Bliss in 1971, are false.
These claims had been reported in multiple news sources. Michael Caputo, Paladino’s campaign manager, told Dan Collins, editor-at-large of the Huffington Post, that Paladino spent “six months of active duty with orders for Vietnam” and was, “responsible for training 250 men during that time.” The claims also showed up in a Sept. 26 New York Times profile of Paladino, which said that Paladino, “was soon given command of 200 soldiers training for combat in Vietnam.”
However, the documents unearthed by the Post show that Paladino was on active duty for only 3 months, and was on the Fort Bliss base for an “acad”, which is an academic program that is used to train new officers. A former senior Fort Bliss officer said that the claims that Paladino trained anyone at the Texas base are “a fraud.”
When asked about the claims, Caputo admitted the mistake, saying, “I misspoke. When Carl was in active duty, he was commander in his class. That made him a first lieutenant in a class of all butter bars—which means a second lieutenant, a lower rank.” He then went on to say that while Paladino was on active duty, “he did not train anyone.”
Caputo insisted that the gubernatorial candidate did train troops when he was a member of the Army Reserve, which he was a member of until 1979, where he served mostly in his hometown of Buffalo.
This is the latest in a series of military-related gaffes by politicians, which include false claims by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who was accused of falsely claiming that he was a Marine in the Vietnam War, and Representative Mark Kirk, who was criticized for claiming that he was named the Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year in the late 1990’s, which turned out not to be true.