Bill Staehle, who served with Alabama Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore in Vietnam, stood onstage Monday night during a rally in Midland City, Alabama, delivering a rousing character testimony of his war buddy and defending him from what he saw as incoming political fire.
“I looked into his eyes. Last time I had seen him he was wearing jungle fatigues,” he said. “And I tell you, people of Alabama, he’s the same guy.”
“He’s honorable, disciplined, morally straight, highly principled — the same qualities we would hope to have in all of our elected officials but don’t,” he said, prompting chants of “Drain the swamp!”
Staehle said he got to know Moore well when they were both Army captains and company commanders in the 504th Military Police Battalion at Camp Land, west of Da Nang, Vietnam, in the early 1970s.
“He was a terrific officer, and we grew close. And I knew that if the occasion arose, he would lay down his life for me, and I for him, without question, without hesitation,” he said.
Staehle recalled a story from Vietnam that he said showed Moore’s character.
One night, a fellow officer had come through their base camp. It was his last night in Vietnam, and he invited both of them out with him later that night to a private club downtown. It turned out to be a brothel.
“We walked inside,” he said. “It was clear to us what kind of place it was.”
“Roy turned to me in less time than it took for someone to come up to us — and there were certainly pretty girls,” he said. “They were young, some of them were probably very young. Roy said to me, ‘We shouldn’t be here, I’m leaving.’ I said, ‘Roy I’m with you.'”
They went back to the other officer, who told them to take his jeep back to the camp. So they took his jeep and drove back to base camp.
“That was Roy. That was Roy,” Staehle said. “Honorable, disciplined, morally straight, and highly principled.”
It was not the Roy Moore he saw being slimed in the media.
“And now people want me to believe that after Roy Moore served out his five-year active duty military obligation — and in the short time it took him to apply for and get accepted, study hard, and get through law school, study again for the bar exam, pass that, get his license to practice law, and get a job as a deputy district attorney — that he was then prepared to give that all up by committing a crime against a 14-year-old?”
“I’m not buying it,” he said to cheers. “I’m buying none of it. It’s all garbage as far as I’m concerned.”
Staehle knew he had to do something to defend his brother-in-arms.
“It was the political equivalent of a Vietcong ambush. I saw my Vietnam buddy standing in the kill zone,” he said. “And I saw those Republicans in name only — those RINOs in Washington — drop their weapons and pick their money off the table.”
“I told my wife, I said, ‘Honey this isn’t right, this isn’t fair, this is just flat out wrong,'” he said. His wife asked him what he was going to do about it.
“So I put down the glass of scotch I was drinking at the time. I got off the couch, I put on my big boy pants and decided to put my reputation on the line and come down here for Roy Moore in Alabama and here I am,” he said to cheers.
Staehle urged Alabama voters to send Roy Moore to the Senate when they vote on Tuesday.
“I quite literally saw him in the mud. I saw him in the baking heat of the dry season. I saw him every day prepare for the danger and the uncertainty with a devotion and duty that was unparalleled,” he said. “I saw someone who would lay down his life for this country if he had to.
“We need to support the president’s agenda to make America great again,” he said. “Roy Moore wants to make America great again. And I say to you people of Alabama, give Roy that chance.”