Minnesota Gov. Walz slammed for ‘stolen valor’ by veteran who served in same unit

by WorldTribune Staff, September 7, 2022

Minnesota Democrat Gov. Tim Walz has touted his service in the military to advance his political career.

In a Feb. 11, 2020 Facebook post, Walz stated: “As a former Command Sergeant Major in the National Guard, I was honored to sit down with National Guard Association of the United States – NGAUS this morning to talk about how my military experience prepared me well to serve as Governor of Minnesota and Commander-in-Chief of the Minnesota National Guard.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

According to a veteran who served in the same Minnesota Army National Guard unit, however, there was not much honor in Walz’s service.

(Ret.) Command Sergeant Major Tom Behrends alleged in an interview with Alpha News published on Sept. 6 that Walz is guilty of “stolen valor.”

“He abandoned us. What the hell kind of leader does that? As soon as the shots were fired in Iraq, he turned and ran the other way and hung his hat up and quit,” said Behrends, who replaced Walz on a deployment to Iraq as command sergeant major in Minnesota’s First Battalion-125th Field Artillery unit.

In early 2005, a warning order went out for a mission to Iraq, Behrends told Alpha News.

Walz served as the unit’s highest non-commissioned officer after he was conditionally promoted to command sergeant major on April 1, 2005, records show. On May 16, 2005, Walz retired from the guard, avoided the deployment, and ran for Congress.

“Walz has implied in previous statements that he didn’t retire because of the deployment, but National Guard records show his service obligation wasn’t complete until September 2007,” Liz Collin wrote for Alpha News.

Behrends was next in line for the position and was asked to take Walz’s place. He went on to serve as the unit’s command sergeant major in Iraq on a nearly two-year deployment, “all while Walz began using that very title as a congressman,” Collin noted.

Behrends said he contacted Walz with his concerns before raising the issue publicly, sending letters to Washington in 2016. The letters all went unanswered, he said.

Behrends again tried to draw attention to the story in 2018 when Walz announced his run for governor.

“It kind of just sat there, you know, when he was a congressman. He bragged that he was a retired command sergeant major and the highest-ranking person ever in the House,” Behrends recalled. “Then, the state of Minnesota came out after 2018 after this was exposed and they said, ‘Well, he can say that he served as a command sergeant major, but he can’t say he’s a retired one because he’s not.’ ”

Behrends continued: “He was saying that and there were campaign letters coming in the mail saying that. They said, right on there, he’s a retired command sergeant major. Just tooting his own horn, hanging on the coattails of people that actually are command sergeant majors that went through all the process and put all the time in,” Behrends said.

A spokesperson for the Minnesota National Guard previously said Walz wasn’t able to retire as a command sergeant major since he failed to complete coursework and other requirements related to the rank, the Alpha News report noted.

Documents show the Army corrected Walz’s service record. He was reduced in rank to an E-8 master sergeant after retirement.

“It’s stolen valor is really what it is. I don’t know of anybody else that’s done what he’s done,” Behrends said.

As Walz stands for re-election in November, Behrends is trying to get the word out to Minnesotans since he knows the local press which backs Walz won’t do it.

Behrends has erected a sign on the side of a silo on his farm in Brewster. It reads: “Abject Failure! Walz is a traitor! Vote Him Out!!”

On his campaign website, Walz says the following about his military service: “In 2005, after 24 years in the Army National Guard, Command Sergeant Major Walz retired from the 1-125th Field Artillery Battallion. When he retired, Tim was the highest-ranking enlisted National Guard soldier in southern Minnesota.” (Emphasis added.)

Contacted for comment, a Walz spokesperson pointed Alpha News to a past story where Walz said “normally this type of partisan political attack only comes from one who’s never worn a uniform.”

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