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A new report alleges that the military record Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been touting during his presidential campaign may be more fiction than fact. The Washington Post's in-depth examination of Graham's military record throughout his 33-year career in the Air Force reveals that "the Air Force afforded him special treatment as a lawmaker, granting him the privileges of rank with few expectations in return."
Although Graham was not beholden to a fixed number of hours as an unpaid officer in the Air Reserve, The Washington Post reports that in eight of his 10 years in the Reserve, Graham did not achieve "satisfactory service," the minimum number of hours the Reserve requires for one to qualify for pension credit. Between January 1995 and January 2005, Graham received credit for a total of 108 hours of training, which breaks down to be under a day and a half of training per year.
Despite the fact that Graham wasn't necessarily putting in his time, the Air Force continually awarded him promotions and honors, promoting him from to lieutenant colonel to colonel. Furthermore, the Post reports that Graham did not complete the courses generally expected of officers who are promoted to either position. "Clearly, the rules didn't apply to him," one active duty Air Force lawyer anonymously told The Washington Post.
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While the Air Force maintains that it did not show favoritism, and that "selection for promotion is based on the whole person concept," not just military achievements, even Graham admitted that the relationship was mutually beneficial. "They wanted to hang onto me and I didn't want to leave," he said.
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