The political fight between incumbent U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) and her Republican opponent Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) has the trigger-happy media tripping over themselves.
Timm Herdt, the Ventura County Star‘s Sacramento bureau chief, published an article Monday in which he claimed–erroneously–that Gorell, who served in the U.S. Navy in the Afghanistan war, is not a veteran.
The fact is, he is not a veteran–at least not in the sense most people consider “veteran,” which is to say someone who has honorably served in the Armed Forces and has since left that service. Gorell is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, but he remains a reserve-duty officer in the United States Navy, still serving his country, still undergoing training, still drawing a paycheck.
The article concerned a political mailer that Brownley had sent to her constituents in July in which she featured a stock photo of a “veteran” wearing a hat bearing a German Lutwaffe insignia, instead of a U.S. Navy uniform.
Several “concerned local veterans” had called Gorell’s attention to the mailer.
Gorell is, in fact, a veteran in every “sense” of the word.
According to his biography on the California State Assembly website, he has twice served in the Middle East and Afghanistan and has been awarded with a medal for his performance and leadership in a combat zone.
Additionally, Gorell is a third-generation sailor; his grandfather was a Navy Seabee who fought in the Pacific during World War II, and his father was a career naval officer and served in the Vietnam War.
The County Star has since removed the erroneous statements from his piece, which now acknowledges that Gorell is “a military intelligence officer and a war veteran.”
Photo: Office of Jeff Gorell