Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.
He's issued a statement in response. In short, he stands by his assertion that he earned Special Forces designation, though he says he had misspoken on at least one occasion as describing himself as a member of a Green Beret unit. He did not address the article's finding that he didn't have an associate degree from Arkansas State University, as claimed. There is no dispute that he served three combat tours in Iraq and held the parchutist badge as a member of the 82nd Airborne.
The full release on the jump, plus links to documents he's provided.
ADEN NEWS RELEASE
RUSSELLVILLE—Ken Aden, Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress from Arkansas' Third District, issued the following statement in response to a story in Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
"The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning made multiple inaccurate statements about my military record and designation as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, commonly known as an '18B.'
I earned the 18B designation, and was awarded the same on June 12, 2008, and provided a copy of the orders from Installation Management Command at Fort Bragg to the Democrat-Gazette. Unfortunately, they ignored these documents.
The claims perpetuated by the Democrat-Gazette that my maintaining the 18B designation was somehow a mistake or error are ridiculous. Soldiers are not awarded and do not keep designations by accident. Additionally, it was noted on multiple service evaluations that I both held the 18B designation and used the training from that designation to better serve my unit. Again, the Democrat-Gazette ignored the relevant documents.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for us to adequately respond to many of the false claims the Democrat-Gazette made about my training and service record, as they declined to let us review the documents they claim to have received under a Freedom of Information Request. Given the fact that military records are often either inaccurate or incomplete when released even to individual soldiers, we will not comment further on some of the Democrat-Gazette's outrageous claims. We also note that, the Public Information Office at Fort Bragg and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School advised our campaign yesterday that they had never received any inquiries from the Democrat-Gazette, in spite of the fact that the Democrat-Gazette claims to quote an official from the Special Warfare School.
We advised the Democrat-Gazette that I made a request for my complete military file from the National Archives, which would be far more extensive than what the newspaper could have received under the Freedom of Information Act, and offered to share the entire contents of that file with the newspaper. Receipt of this file would have enabled the newspaper to verify more accurately the information they have reported, and to have caught multiple mistakes they made in their story. Unfortunately, the Democrat-Gazette elected not to wait for the short amount of time it would take to have the opportunity to review the more accurate record.
I have made no secret of the fact that I misspoke about serving with a Green Beret Unit. However, as indicated in records I provided the Democrat-Gazette and other media outlets, I was designated as 18B, which is a special forces designation, and I maintained that designation until I was discharged. For the Democrat-Gazette to claim I was not entitled to that designation or that it was somehow a mistake that I held the designation for so long is both ridiculous and insulting, to myself and other combat veterans who may be considering a run for public office.
I do not intend to allow this to distract my campaign from our mission of ensuring that the people of the Third Congressional District are ultimately represented in Congress by someone who reflects their values and beliefs on issues such as Medicare and Social Security."
Here's an award citation.
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