Ward’s War

Denver Post, Feb. 13, 2005:

U.S. Army records produced in 2004 in response to a request from the organization News From Indian Country show that Churchill was inducted on Nov. 16, 1966, and trained as a light-truck driver and projectionist.He spent most of a year in Vietnam.
The stories he has told over the years of his Vietnam service have varied dramatically. On a 1980 résumé submitted to the University of Colorado, Churchill wrote that he served as a public-information specialist who “wrote and edited the battalion newsletter and wrote news releases.”
In a 1987 interview with The Denver Post, and as recently as two weeks ago, Churchill described his Vietnam service as more complicated. In the 1987 interview, he said he had attended paratrooper school and been assigned as part of an elite long-range reconnaissance patrol to hunt the enemy. His service records do not reflect paratrooper school, or training or assignment on reconnaissance.
At his recent trial on charges of disrupting Denver’s Columbus Day parade, he said he had walked “point” in a combat unit in Vietnam and was called “chief” because of his Indian heritage.”
I was on the ground pulling triggers. You can’t undo that. And I have an obligation to do what I can by way of compensation,” Churchill said in a recent interview. “You can say that is the foundational reason that I do most all of what I do.”
Lt. Justin Journeay, a spokesman for the Army at Fort Carson, said it is conceivable a truck driver in Vietnam could have seen combat in some situations. But he said he doubted that a driver would lead point on patrol.
Churchill has repeatedly declined to comment on the discrepancies between his printed military record and the descriptions he has given of his service.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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