Republican Rep Triggers GOP Backlash Over Stolen Valor

( — Texas Republican Representative Troy Nehls is a former U.S. Army Reserve member who served for 21 years, including combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Like many former military personnel who now work in government, he often wears the medals or pins that he earned during his military service.

However, there are some in his own party who have been criticizing him over one particular lapel pin he wears. The pin in question is the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) and many say he didn’t earn it.

To qualify for the CIB, which Nehls has worn since 2021, specific conditions must be met. First, a person must be an infantryman or Special Forces soldier. Then they must be assigned to an infantry or Special Forces unit during a period of active ground combat. Finally, they must have performed satisfactorily while personally under fire during a combat action. The CIB is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the US Army. The recipients of the CIB are recognized for their bravery, skill, and dedication to their country.

A recent new investigation found that Nehls had his CIB revoked after he was found to have been working as a civil affairs officer rather than in a combat unit when it was awarded. He continues to wear the lapel pin, and some Republicans have condemned him for “stolen valor”. Stolen valor has legal connotations for people who make or sell military medals without authorization, but there can be consequences for those making false claims of military service. Beyond the social stigma of engaging in stolen valor, there can also be fines or even imprisonment in some cases.

Nehls’ press secretary, Emily Matthews, addressed the criticism regarding the CIB by saying that Nehls does not wear medals he was not awarded. His office claims they are not aware of his CIB being rescinded. He also claims to have two Bronze Star from 2004 and 2008, although some say he only received one. While some of his critics have complained anonymously, Texas Republican Representative Wesley Hunt openly calls it ridiculous. Hunt served with the United States Army as an aviation branch officer and a helicopter pilot. He wears the CIB himself and considers Nehls a friend.

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