Bob McDonald admits lying about military history; local vets respond
Veterans Affairs secretary and Former P&G executive, Bob McDonald, is now admitting he lied about his military experience.
McDonald was recorded by CBS News saying he served in an Army special forces unit when talking to a veteran last month.
"He could have been saying that to make that guy that he was talking to feel a bit more comfortable talking to him," said Keith Maupin.
More than a decade ago, Keith Maupin's son Matt was captured and killed while serving overseas. Now through the Yellow Ribbon Support Center he delivers packages to current soldiers, and Maupin has dedicated his life to helping veterans.
"I don't think the vets are going to hold that against him, I really don't. If he had said that for six or seven years then that would be a different story. But to say that once, everybody is allowed the slip of a tongue, and I guarantee he won't say it again," said Maupin.
McDonald did spend five years in the Army and graduated Army Ranger training.
"He earned the Ranger Tab so in theory yes he was a Special Forces member even though he didn't serve with the Special Forces Battalion,"
said Army Veteran Terence Harrison.
Harrison said the fact that McDonald served is honorable.
"I kind of get it but at the same time you don't really have to sell a story," said Harrison.
Last summer McDonald took over the troubled VA. Prior to his arrival, the agency was plagued by scandal with accusations of long waits for health care and employees falsifying records to cover up delays.
"A lot of people will go one way and a lot of people will go the other but he did apologize for it and he's doing a good job at the VA," said Maupin.
Controversial comments about war-stories have been a staple of news headlines in recent weeks. First Brian Williams apologizing on Feb. 4 for false claims that he was in a helicopter in Iraq that came under fire.
He's been suspended from NBC News for six months.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly responded to claims that his reporting during a 1982 conflict between Argentina and Britain in the Falklands was exaggerated. Some reports say O'Reilly was not in a war zone at all, but rather a small protest.
O'Reilly not backing down from his claims, and Fox News so far standing by their anchor.
"Unfortunately in his effort to show compassion and to learn more about the homeless veteran he overstated his service record in a quick passing remark. This is not a regular occurrence with him," said McDonald's family in a statement.
A statement from the Disable American Veterans said:
"The Secretary misstated his service, which he has acknowledged and apologized for. He made the statement while reaching out to a homeless veteran and addressing the issue of veteran homelessness. The bottom line is Secretary McDonald served honorably and is incredibly committed to his role of helping veterans. I hope we can all quickly get back to the task at hand - ensuring all veterans receive the benefits they have earned."