Retired Army Special Forces soldiers from throughout the country continue to criticize Congressional candidate Ron Dickey’s claims as a “green beret” veteran intentionally deceptive.
News reports announcing Horn Lake resident Dickey qualified to run in the Democratic primary in the First
Congressional District identified Dickey as a former “green beret,” a description he and supporters have used until recent days. Prior to days ago, Dickey’s Facebook page for his Congressional campaign identified him as a green beret veteran. He identified as a “cook” in the military as recent as a day ago.
Dickey’s entire Facebook page for his political campaign has disappeared. Screen shots and social media page and his military record documents have not.
Reached on his cell phone Thursday, Dickey didn’t want to discuss the issue but relented after 15 minutes or so.
“It was a generalized statement that was made in my bio,” he said. “This is just something I need to clarify.”
To clarify, Dickey literally did receive a green beret but never served in the elite special forces group many civilians associate with the headgear. Dickey faces incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee and two other candidates in the November general election.
Retired Sgt. Maj. George Davenport served in the same 3rd Special Forces Company as Dickey, which included about 1,500 soliders at the time. Davenport and many other special forces soldiers make a solid distinction between the elite special forces and support staff such as cooks, mechanics and others who assisted but didn’t serve in the same role.
“He was very clever in his way of making his claim in the way the normal public wouldn’t pick up on it,” Davenport said. “I think it’s intentional deception.”
Dickey’s identification as a “Green Beret” veteran incensed members of the Facebook group, Special Forces Posers Patrol, which identifies people who incorrectly identify themselves as members of the elite fighting group. All retired special forces soldiers who discussed this with me live outside of Mississippi and can’t vote in the November general election. However, none said he would have their vote.
Tim Guth, an attorney in Wisconsin and former special forces soldier, said Dickey’s statements transcend an inaccurate phrase needing clarification.
“It’s not a misunderstanding,” Guth said. “He knew what he was doing.”
Dickey seems to have more than issues with Green Beret status. His background information previously posted online showed him as serving in Desert Storm, something not reflected in his official military records. He served in Korea during the Persian Gulf war.
William “Robb” Jewell of Houston, Texas, a former Army cook who served special forces soldiers in Desert Storm believes the inexperienced politician would never have received the avalanche of special forces veterans disputing the Mississippian’s military record.
“He’s getting what he deserves,” Jewell said.
Dickey said he plans to remain on the general election ballot, a decision supported by Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole.
“I think the most important thing is he did serve and was honorably discharged,” Cole said Thursday.
UPDATE: Dickey also has a pending federal chapter 13 bankruptcy case that began in 2010. He said Thursday prior to seeking office he checked to ensure federal law didn’t prohibit anyone with severe financial issues from serving in Congress.
Among the financial issues, Dickey said knee surgery prevented him from working as a truck driver. Federal court filings show his debt as up to $50,000.
The Democrat tried to stay optimistic while discussing his financial woes. He said people with high- and low-earning incomes can relate to money problems and hopes positions on health care, minimum wage and income inequality will win voters’ support in November.
“I’ve been described as the poor man’s candidate,” he said.
For what it’s worth, Dickey isn’t the first politician with money problems and likely won’t be the last.
UPDATE: See Dickey’s military and bankruptcy records below.