Warner seeks Hagee transcript
ARLINGTON, Va. — Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are asking the Marine Corps for information on Lt. Gen. Michael Hagee, who acknowledged Monday that he stopped wearing three decorations because he cannot find supporting documentation.
Aides from the committee, headed by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., have asked the Marine Corps to provide a transcript of a Tuesday press conference in which Hagee detailed which awards he stopped wearing and why, said Corps spokesman Capt. Steward Upton.
Hagee assumes command Monday as the Corps’ 33rd commandant.
“Anything they want, we’ll provide for them,” Upton said. “We don’t feel that the commandant did anything wrong and will answer any question that needs answering. Congress and the American people will see this for what it was.”
Though Hagee stopped wearing the ribbons, he says he is confident he has earned the awards will continue a search for personal paper records to prove it.
He cannot find documentation for the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Individual Citation, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation.
“While to wear decorations to which you are not entitled is technically a violation [of the Uniform Code of Military Justice], along the lines of uniform violations or orders violations, I’ve got a hunch this won’t go that far. Ultimately, it’s not that big of a deal,” said Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice.
“Sounds to me like [Hagee] has done the appropriate thing by removing them himself. In fact, he was entitled to wear more decorations than he had on.”
Hagee said he removed the awards once he realized the documentation was missing.
During his confirmation hearing before Congress, however, he was wearing the three awards in question.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, Warner wants “the full body of fact” on Hagee’s awards.
Only the press conference transcript has been requested, Upton said.
Warner’s press secretary did not return several calls placed to his office Thursday.
“I would be greatly surprised if anybody made a ruckus over this,” Fidell said.
“Among other things, senior officers have so many medals, they can’t conveniently keep track of them.”
The congressional probe is a matter of housekeeping, Fidell said.
“I think they’d like to close the book on the matter, barring intentional chicanery,” he said. “But this should give anyone pause in light of the Boorda incident.”
Former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jeremy “Mike” Boorda committed suicide in 1996 amid controversy over whether he pinned on two combat “V” decorations without having earned them.