Retired Colonels Wrangle Over McCalister's Military Record; LeMieux Blasts 'Unfounded Attacks'

In an attack reminiscent of the "swift boating" of Democrat John Kerry, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McCalister is under fire for allegedly inflating his military record.

Accusing McCalister of making "grossly misleading statements on his website," Chuck Winn said the retired Army colonel embellished his "special operations" service.

Winn, himself a retired colonel, told the political website Shark Tank that McCalister's home page subsequently deleted references to being a "retired special operations Army colonel."

McCalister called Winn's attack "dirty politics" and released portions of his military record.

McCalister said he served at the U.S. Special Operations Command from September 1998 to September 2005 in three positions: special operations action officer; research and analysis officer; and assistant/deputy chief, training, doctrine, and education division, center for operations, plans and policy.

He added:

"If some things that I have said or placed on my website have been misinterpreted, I take full responsibility for that. Whenever I learned that something I said or that was posted on my campaign website was creating confusion, I took action to address the issue."

Winn was described in the Shark Tank report as a supporter of rival Senate candidate George LeMieux. But LeMieux issued a statement late Wednesday dismissing any connection:

"I denounce the unfounded attacks on the military service of Colonel Mike McCalister. The colonel served our nation honorably in the United States military and he, as well as all of our men and women in uniform, deserves our gratitude and respect.  Any campaign engaging in such baseless attacks should immediately apologize to Colonel McCalister and denounce these tactics."
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Comments (6)

Chuck Winn
2:48PM AUG 18TH 2011

Honorable George LeMieux
Former United States Senator

Dear Senator LeMieux:

I certainly hope that this item by Kendrick Ward referring to our concerns as an unfounded attack is not accurate.

We are a non partisan task force who collectively represent well over a century of experience, and are supported by seasoned former and retired military personnel from around the state and country. Our position was summed up very well in both the Miami Herald and St Petersburg Times today, and obviously are not "unfounded" or without basis.

Although we have noted that you made some good votes as a member of the SASC, we also have noted former Representative Hasner’s outstanding record on veterans issues in the legislature. We wish you both well, but do not intend to support either one of you, or any other candidate until after the Republican Primary.

We would prefer not to publish this letter publicly, but the remark Mr. Ward alleges you made about our activities questions our professional integrity.

For the Stolen Valor Steering Committee, I am,


Chuck Winn
2:00PM AUG 18TH 2011
I have started studying what he put out yesterday and it is more full of holes than a Swiss cheese factory. Here is one example:

JUNE 1973 to AUGUST 1974: Sergeant E-5, National Guard Officer Candidate School, Missouri (Commissioned 2nd Lt. in August 1974)

Sounds like 15 months of active duty but this is what it really was:

State OCS (Traditional)

* Where: Your state’s Regional Training Institute, or RTI
* When: Weekends only—16-18 months of one weekend a month, plus 2 two-week periods

(This is 58 days of active duty, for training purposes, not 15 months)

Also, the statement of Sergeant E-5 is misleading, as a candidate you have a pay grade of E-5 but you are not a Sergeant, you are a low life scum bag candidate, you have no rank.

One more note on something to consider:
OCTOBER 1971 to JANUARY 1972: Awaiting initial Active Duty Basic Training, 135th Combat Engineer Group, Cape Girardeau, MO

In 1971 we were still very involved in Vietnam, we were still drafting people until 1973. What did he do, he joined the reserves, one of the best way to keep out of the draft. As a Vietnam combat Vet, I sure can’t call him Rambo! He had his chance to fight for his country and he chose a different path.

I was bothered and disappointed before, now I am mad!

This is only the tip of the iceberg
Say What?
11:57AM AUG 18TH 2011
So let me get this straight. When a coalition of military veterans - Stolen Valor Task Force, steered by Courtney Payne, USMC, Korea/Vietnam; Ed Maxwell, USA, Vietnam; Tim Taylor, USMC, Persian Gulf, Chuck Winn, USA, Vietnam - question what they percieve to be embellished claims of military service, the response is to attack these veterans? To dishonor their service to this country to protect McCalister's honor??? Who better to know if there are inaccurate claims being made? These men never questioned the validity of McCalister's actual military experience, just asked for clarification on certain statements. Questions the candidate would not answer, yet, he did take the time to edit these statements on his web site after the questions were posed. What's one to think? And when did losing an election make someone "oh-so-fringe"?
Peter Schorsch
9:56PM AUG 17TH 2011
By the way, who is this Chuck Winn attacking Col. Mike McCalister?
Allen Wilson
9:03PM AUG 17TH 2011
What is not remarkable is that personal attacks are being issued. What is disappointing is the nature of the attack. In my experience public attacks that reference one's own defense of "honor" usually has little to do with defense or honor.

What I find refreshing and welcome is the prompt and pointed press release by one of Mike McCalister's opponents denouncing the tactics. We often hear calls for this sort of thing but rarely see them happen. Perhaps there is a bit of honor left in politics.
Chuck Winn
2:14PM AUG 18TH 2011
Mr. Ward, Please do better research the next time. I never communicated with Mr. Manjarres on this matter, and also refuse to communicate with hiim on any matter base on his history of deliberate misquotes. I still have not determined wherther it is a lack of gray matter or a low ethical standard. The following Miami Herald link accurately quotes the position of the Stolen Valor Task Force, and is followed by the press release we put out this morning that cites the St Petersburg article that also accurately represents our position. Best regards, Chuck Winn

Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 9:17 AM



FROM; SVTF STEERING COMMITTEE (Courtney Payne, USMC, Korea/Vietnam; Ed Maxwell, USA, Vietnam; Tim Taylor, USMC, Persian Gulf, Chuck Winn, USA, Vietnam)

CONTACT: Chuck Winn,

The Stolen Valor Task Force of South Florida has reviewed and concurs that the following article by the St Petersburg Editorial Staff accurately reflects our position.

We are an unfunded, volunteer, non-partisan activity. Contrary to false accusations made by Colonel McCalister and his supporters, none of us are supporting any one of his opponents. We thank those in the media who have diligently pursued the questions we have raised about inconsistent, inaccurate and misleading statements that were made on the Colonel Mike McCalister U.S. Senate campaign web site; and that he has reportedly made in campaign speeches. We also urge the media to continue pursuing these and others that McCalister’s excessively long press release raise.

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