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HomeNewsBreakingAZ House candidate misrepresented military service | Locals sound alarm

AZ House candidate misrepresented military service | Locals sound alarm

POLITICS-Steve H. Slaton, Republican candidate for Arizona House in Legislative District 7 (LD7), has been the topic of a recent scandal involving his military service claims and his bitter battle with local Republicans. LD7 Republicans are calling for Slaton to withdraw from the race.

Candidate Slaton:

Slaton moved to Show Low, Arizona, and opened the Trumped Store, selling former President Donald J. Trump attire and other conservative merchandise. He promotes the “America First” motto in his store and on the campaign trail.

In November 2017, the Navajo County Republican Committee (NCRC) stepped in to remove Slaton as Chairman, Karen MacKean as First Vice Chair, and Paul Carothers. The reason for the removal was contention between Slaton and members of the NCRC. Jim Vance replaced Slaton as Chairman.

Slaton sued the new NCRC executive committee and lost, he was also required to pay attorney fees and court costs. According to Navajo County Court records, $855.00 is still owed to the executive committee members.

On Aug 18, 2022, the NCRC precinct committee members voted to censure Slaton, unanimously.

Lisa Green, the current NCRC Chairwoman, said,” We censured Slaton due to his defamatory comments towards Republicans in general and his fraudulent use of the NCRC Facebook page to push his personal agenda.”

Tony Tangalos, manager and part owner of the White Mountain Lake Airpark, described a physical assault that Slaton threatened after an NCRC meeting in 2017. Tangalos said Slaton described himself as Vietnam Veteran, Special Forces, and he better look out!

“I am calling for Slaton to withdraw from the LD7 race, he is a liar, unhinged, profoundly narcissistic, and wrong for Navajo County,” said Tangalos.

Also, in December 2015, the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions revoked Slaton’s residential appraiser certification for failing to comply with the Order of Extension because his appraisals contained errors.

Sen. Rogers and Slaton: 

While campaigning for his legislative position on the “America First” platform, Slaton has garnered the support of Arizona LD 7 Senator Wendy Rogers. Slaton has claimed that he and Sen. Rogers are running mates.

On the front of Slaton’s store, which faces the Deuce of Clubs in Show Low, he displays signs and banners indicating to the community that the duo is running together. 

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The Trumped Store in Show Low, owned by the Slaton’s. Picture Credit: Molly K Ottman.

Where Sen. Rogers is, you’ll normally find Slaton reaching out for support. On April 8, Sen. Rogers and Slaton campaigned together in Florence, Arizona.

Rogers wrote on her Facebook page: MAGA patriots of #LD7 united at the River Bottom Grill in Florence AZ tonight! SteveSlatonAZ RossTeeple voteridcheck
Sen. Rogers wrote on her Facebook page: MAGA patriots of #LD7 united at the River Bottom Grill in Florence AZ tonight! Picture Credit: Sen. Rogers Facebook page.

Slaton’s Valor Claims: 

Candidates running for public office vowing to represent the people in their districts is a given promise. If a candidate displays their military service as a qualifying agent, they are considered reliable, dedicated, and trustworthy.

Slaton made some steep claims on his campaign page, Steve Slaton for State Rep, LD 7, and in an April 5 radio interview with KMOG out of Payson. In the KMOG interview, Slaton gave a DD-214 to the host, Ken Murphy, claiming it was his real DD-214.  

Slaton provided Murphy with the DD-214 because his opponent, LD7 candidate Walt Blackman, called Slaton out on KMOG for Stolen Valor.

On the April 5 KMOG interview, Slaton answered a caller’s question. The question was, “There is a distinct difference between a Veteran and a Combat Veteran. Did you say you were a Combat Veteran?” Slaton responded, “Yes, I was a Combat Veteran in Vietnam for four months in support of the missions of the South Vietnamese and patrolled along the DMZ.”

Mountain Daily Star received the DD-214 from Murphy by email. Slaton also published a video on Facebook claiming that Blackman was falsely accusing him of Stolen Valor.

 

Mountain Daily Star obtained Slaton’s official military records (201-file) and the DD-214 through Guardians of the Green Beret and The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The documents obtained tell a different story.

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Screenshot of the Facebook video produced by Slaton holding up his altered DD-214. Beside Slaton is the official DD-214 from NARA added by Mountain Daily Star.

The DD-214 Slaton produced at KMOG has several additions that the official NARA records do not have. The additions include earning the Vietnam Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and Army Commendation Medal. Nixon Vietnamese Program 1974, Flightmen. Army Transportation School Fort Eustis Virginia, Promoted to Sergeant 1976.

On Slaton’s website he describes himself as a co-pilot on a Cobra helicopter that served in Vietnam within the 128th Aviation Company, and a retired member of the military. He also sends out campaign emails describing himself as a Combat Veteran.

Mountain Daily Star, Guardians of the Green Beret, and local Veterans, investigated the claims made by Slaton.

Slaton’s official NARA military records explain that he was stationed in Korea from January 1974 through December 1974 in the Military Operational Specialty (MOS) of 67Y20, which is a AH-1G Helicopter Repairman. During his three years of service, Slaton served in the AH-1G MOS as his primary position.

He was an AH-1 Crew Chief with the 128th Aviation Company in Korea from August 1974 until his term of service expired (ETS). Slaton went back to the United States at the end of the year. Slaton served in this position for four months. 

Everette Corn served in the Army as a pilot stationed in Vietnam. “I served with the 128th from July of 1970 to 1972, and I was their lead pilot in Vietnam, and they were serving in Korea in 1974.” Corn continued, “Vietnam was over in 1973, and the 128th stood down in mid-1972 and was reactivated in Korea.”

The 128th Aviation Company was not in Vietnam in 1974, nor was Slaton holding the position of a Cobra co-pilot in Vietnam or at anytime during his three years of service according to the official military records. 

The altered DD-214 Slaton provided states he was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal. This medal was awarded from July 4, 1965, through March 28, 1973. Slaton enlisted in the Army on June 29, 1973 according to the official NARA DD-214. He was not on active duty when this medal was awarded, so it’s impossible for him to have earned it. This medal does not appear in the awards section of Slaton’s official 201 service record.

Slaton never stepped foot in Vietnam.

Also included in this section of the altered DD-214 is the Army Commendation Medal, the medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or meritorious service. This medal does not appear in the awards section of Slaton’s official 201 service record. 

Slaton never received the Army Commendation Medal.

Additional discrepancies were also noted on Slaton’s altered DD-214, The Army Good Conduct Medal, which is awarded on a selective basis to each soldier who distinguishes himself or herself from among his or her fellow soldiers by their exemplary conduct with character and efficiency ratings excellent or higher throughout the qualifying period. This medal does not appear in the awards section of Slaton’s 201 official service record.

Slaton never received the Army Good Conduct Medal.

The Remarks Section of the altered DD-214, includes the “Nixon Vietnamese Program 1974.” This made up program is no where to be found. Reporters interviewed dozens of Vietnam Veterans and contacted the Dept. of the Army, “No one has heard of the Nixon Vietnamese Program 1974,” all the responses concurred. Vietnamization was a policy of the Richard Nixon administration to end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. However, in 1974, most military control was given over to the South Vietnamese. Its also important to note that in this area it is clear that the document had different font, such as the number 4 and the number 7. 

Added to the MOS title of AH-1G Helicopter Repairman on the altered DD-214 is “Flight man.” This specialty does not define any training as a Flight man/co-pilot in the job description.  

However, Slaton was in the Army Standby Reserve 1976 to 1979.

Slaton stated he retired from the Army on the bottom of his campaign website. No where in the history of the Army has anyone served for three years and retired unless they were medically retired. Slaton’s website has since been changed from “retired” to “Veteran of the Army.” 

433125835 7378358832229238 8095188815900260521 n MOUNTAIN DAILY STAR
Slaton’s campaign website has been changed, however, during this story the website showed “retired member of the Army.”

On April 10, an investigator with the Guardians of the Green Beret contacted Slaton to ask him for a comment about altering his DD-214. Slaton gave no response other than to listen to the investigator relay the information. The investigator informed Slaton that he had proof due to a letter from The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) stating that the DD-214 he submitted to KMOG was indeed fraudulent. The investigator also stated to Slaton that he had the correct military records and, “He knows Slaton did not serve in Vietnam.”

If Slaton lies about his military service, fakes his military service accolades, and submits an altered military document, how can the voters in LD7 trust that he will represent them honorably? It’s perplexing why Slaton altered his DD-214 when he did serve in the Army, and his service dates in Korea would allow him to become a member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Sen. Rogers, who received her commission in 1976, is a United States Air Force Pilot and retiree in her own right. She had the duty to do her due diligence in vetting Slaton. She is seeking re-election to represent the people of Northern Arizona in the November 2024 election. As a Veteran with her qualifications and service, she should have done her homework on Slaton before she paraded him around as her wingman.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., lists more than 58,300 names of members of the U.S. armed forces who were killed or went missing in action. The valor of the Vietnam Veterans who fought and died in the name of Freedom must be protected—thieves among Honor.

A special thanks to our dear friends at Guardians of the Green Beret; your dedication to our Country and the Honor you give Veterans of the Special Forces is breathtaking. 

A special thanks to local Vietnam Veterans for their service and assistance with understanding the military documents. 

Contributing Reporter: Kate Angelos, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Date:

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