Mayor Pete Buttigieg does not appear to have engaged in combat during his six months deployed in Afghanistan, despite months of ignoring multiple media requests about the issue, including from Breitbart News.
The South Bend mayor spoke about his deployment during an interview with military news website Task and Purpose.
When asked if he considered himself a combat veteran, he replied, “Some say you are a combat veteran if you have a Combat Action Ribbon (I do not). Others say deploying to a combat zone makes you one. I simply consider myself a veteran, and I’ll leave it to others to decide what else to call it.”
The Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) is awarded to members of the Navy or the Marine Corps who have actively participated in ground or surface combat.
Buttigieg added that his job was never intended to be a combat role, although he frequently drove or guarded military vehicles “outside the wire” of the military base.
According to his count, he traveled 119 times outside the wire.
“Fortunately, everyone in one of my vehicles made it safely to their destination, and I returned home safely as well,” he said.
Buttigieg frequently used his own service as a weapon to talk tough about President Donald Trump.
“I’m not scared of this president,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in an interview in July. “I mean, this a guy who was working on season seven of Celebrity Apprentice when I was driving armored vehicles outside the wire in Afghanistan. I’m not afraid to take him on.”
Buttigieg also criticized Trump for considering pardoning some military veterans accused of committing war crimes.
“For a president, especially a president who never served, to say he’s going to come in and overrule that system of military justice undermines the very foundations, legal and moral, of this country,” he said in May.
He also used his military service to justify national anthem protests.
“If the president had served, maybe he’d feel a little more strongly about some of those freedoms,” Buttigieg said, defending athletes like Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee to protest the anthem. “And, I get that there’s a lot of strong opinions about this, but that’s part of why we served.”
In the interview with Task and Purpose, Buttigieg also revealed that he did not have any tattoos and listened to hip-hop and pop while lifting weights.