Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010
Kirk apologizes for misstating military record
By DEANNA BELLANDI - Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO -- Senate candidate Mark Kirk apologized Thursday for making inaccurate statements about his service in the Navy Reserves, while acknowledging more discrepancies.
"I apologize to everyone for these errors," the Illinois Republican said. "They were my responsibility entirely and I will fix them."
The five-time U.S. representative, who is competing with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for the Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama, also acknowledged new incidents where public statements didn't match reality about his service.
Senate candidate faces more heat over Navy record
Kirk said a letter sent by his congressional district office last year described him as a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, the first Persian Gulf war, but he did not participate in that operation.
Kirk later flew over Iraq for intelligence reconnaissance missions in 2000. He said Thursday he does not recall coming under enemy fire on those flights and added it was sometimes hard to tell whether his plane was being targeted.
But C-SPAN video shows Kirk on the House floor saying he was fired upon.
"The last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform flying at 20,000 feet, and the Iraqi air defense network was shooting at us," Kirk said in the undated video, which was posted online by the Giannoulias campaign.
Kirk also said last year that he once saw anti-aircraft flack when flying an intelligence mission over Kosovo and thought he might be killed.
The Kirk campaign did not respond Thursday night to requests for clarification on those incidents.
The furor over Kirk's military record took off last week when he acknowledged that, contrary to his many statements over the years, he hadn't won the Navy's award for intelligence officer of the year.
Amid media inquiries to the Navy, Kirk corrected his resume to show he actually received a different award, one that went to his unit instead of him personally.