WXXV, Miss. - Fourth congressional district Libertarian candidate Ric McCluskey recently made claims that incumbent Congressman Steven Palazzo has not been truthful about his service in the National Guard.
On Monday he took the fight straight to Congressman Palazzo’s doorstep. Also on hand was a former staff sergeant who says he was one of Palazzo’s immediate supervisors in the National Guard.
News 25’s Kristen Durand was there and has the details. Former Staff Sergeant Rolan Wade said, “During my time, I would like to say it was my honor to serve with Congressman Palazzo, but I can’t say that. I’ve never seen him. I can only say that he was on the company roster and that every time his name was called, it was a running joke. You would hear laughs, ‘no show Palazzo’ and ‘AWOL’ coming from the back of the formations.”
Former Staff Sergeant Rolan Wade served in the National Guard from 2004 to 2016. He says during his time in the Bravo Company 1-155 Combined Arms Battalion out of Poplarville he never once saw Congressman Palazzo show up for a drill.
In a statement released Monday, Congressman Palazzo’s office responded, saying “Congressman Palazzo completed the majority of his drill requirements at Camp Shelby and also drilled at the Joint Force Headquarters in Jackson.
He has not drilled at the Poplarville unit.” Wade, one of Palazzo’s direct supervisors at the time, agrees that Palazzo missed drills at the Poplarville unit, but says Palazzo did not follow proper protocol in regards to his absence. “That approval starts at the bottom and goes up. That never happened. He has never made contact with his platoon sergeant, his platoon leader, his squad leader or anyone else in the unit. I can tell you if it was done, it was done from the top down in a manner in the military which is completely unacceptable,” said Wade.
Libertarian candidate Ric McCluskey says Wade and as many as 12 others, who have chosen not to have their identities revealed at this time, have already signed sworn affidavits attesting to these claims. McCluskey is calling for an investigation into the matter.
“If I’m lying, I want Congressman Palazzo to file a lawsuit against me and my campaign immediately.
I know he will not do that for this reason, that’s when those records will be public, that’s when an investigation will start,” said McCluskey.