Which is more important? A candidate’s platform or a candidate’s past occupation? I am referring to the unfounded attacks by three individuals — Larry Mrozinski, Bill Stanley, and Scott McElroy, who admit to being among supporters of 11th congressional district candidate Bob Barr — who have been besmirching the honorable military career of Barry Loudermilk.
I have personally heard two of Loudermilk’s speeches and felt that he downplayed his military career. Even Mr. Stanley admits that Loudermilk did not say he was an Air Force pilot, just that he was a pilot. This is the only specific allegation this small group could make, but their allegations don’t wash.
Loudermilk did serve in the Air Force and therefore obviously, as he says, “knows the importance of national defense … aerospace and airpower.”
I personally don’t care what Loudermilk did in the military — only that he served his country honorably for 20 years. Ironically, his opponent, Mr. Barr, did not serve in uniform at all.
Since Mrozinski, Stanley and McElroy used their military background as qualifiers of their opinions, I feel I should share some of mine: Three years in U.S. Army as avionics technician, one year in Southeast Asia earning Vietnam Campaign Ribbon and Service Medals, and 20-plus years with the U.S. Air Force as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. Private sector experience: B.S. in Electronic Engineering, M.S. in Administration, avionics engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Company and General Radio Telephone License (FCC, First Class).
Mrozinski was quoted as saying “one’s military record should not be embellished or used to manipulate or mislead the public for personal gain.” I completely agree. In my opinion, Mrozinski is the one who is exaggerating and distorting. He has listed no specifics, only generalizations and speculations against Loudermilk for Bob Barr’s political gain.
Mr. Stanley was puzzled why some have not served in combat. Since Vietnam, every soldier and airman serves in a hostile environment. All military is inherently risky and potentially dangerous. If Stanley disagrees with me, I challenge him to pinpoint the warfronts on any map depicting Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait or Afghanistan. What about those killed or injured by IEDs? And what is so glamorous about being a helicopter pilot with the distasteful task of killing the enemy, as necessary as it might be?
Anyone receiving a private pilot’s license, like Loudermilk, had to complete courses in aviation fundamentals and aeronautics, commonly known as “ground school.” Also, many non-flying jobs in the USAF require similar studies. I, too, was required to study similar courses, both as an enlisted avionics technician in the Army and later as an aircraft maintenance officer in USAF.
I question this group’s motives because they are grasping at straws with no substance to their allegations. I am acquainted with both Barr and Loudermilk. I have not decided my vote yet, but if Barr does not refute these misleading allegations against Loudermilk by his stated campaign supporters, the decision will have been made for me, as it should be for thousands of others.
(Editor’s note: Mr. Scamihorn is vice chairman of the Cobb School Board).