PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Embattled state Rep. Daniel Gordon was demoted twice in 1990 while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.
"He needs to stop talking to reporters and call the Marine Corps," Marine spokeswoman Maj. Shawn Haney said as Gordon continued to dispute the military's records.
The records show Gordon entered the Marines as a private first class on June 4, 1987, soon after his 18th birthday, and was promoted to lance corporal on Dec. 1, 1987.
The Marine Corps demoted Gordon to private first class on May 17, 1990, then demoted him for a second time to the lowest rank of private on Dec. 21, 1990. That was during the Gulf War, when Gordon claims to have been serving in the Middle East and injured by shrapnel in Baghdad.
Gordon received a promotion from private to private first class on Oct. 1, 1991, and was discharged weeks later on Nov. 12, 1991, according to the military, which released more detailed information after Gordon questioned Target 12's initial report on the demotion.
"Wrong, still," Gordon wrote on Twitter after the new details came out. "How about my promotions, Good Conduct Medal, and other accolades? Can't/won't report that?" The Portsmouth lawmaker also posted a photograph of the document showing his promotion to lance corporal in December 1987.
Gordon did not receive a Good Conduct Medal, which denotes three years of service without disciplinary action, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a public affairs officer for the Marines' manpower and reserve affairs department. She said he did receive two awards or decorations: the National Defense Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
In response, Gordon posted a photograph of a Good Conduct Medal citation awarded to him for having conducted himself "in a credible manner" from June 4, 1987, to June 3, 1990, which is less than three weeks after the Marine Corps now says he was demoted for the first time.
"What is that?" Gordon wrote after posting the photo. "Uh oh. Someone has poop on their face again."
Haney said neither the authorized awards page of Gordon's military record nor his DD-214 discharge document list a Good Conduct Medal award.
In addition, the records list Gordon's commencement date for his first Good Conduct Medal as May 17, 1990, the same day they show he was demoted from lance corporal to private first class.
"What that indicates is that his Good Conduct Medal date was reset for his first award for that date," Haney said.
She reiterated her suggestion that Gordon should contact the military to have the Board for Corrections of Naval Records review his documentation if he believes it's incorrect, but said that as it stands he does not have the award he claims in the eyes of the U.S. Marine Corps.
"A certificate in his possession does not constitute him rating the Good Conduct Medal officially," Haney said. "These are the facts. ... If he feels that's in error, then he can bring it to our attention."
Gordon has been in the headlines since he was arrested last month. Target 12 later revealed the lawmaker has faced criminal charges in Massachusetts 18 times since 1993 and served time in prison there.
Gordon wrote messages on his Twitter account Tuesday saying he'd checked into The Miriam Hospital in Providence after appearing in court earlier in the day, where one of the charges against him was dismissed. He is due in court in Massachusetts on Oct. 17.
Gordon receives a military pension of $123 a month because of his service in the Marines, according to the Veterans Administration.
Haney confirmed Gordon's demotion in rank after receiving permission from Marine Corps lawyers that the disclosure does not violate his privacy rights under federal law and military regulations.
The Marines also say Gordon never left the United States during the first Gulf War and did not serve in combat, contradicting the lawmaker's assertion that he received a shrapnel wound outside Baghdad, Iraq, during the 1990-91 conflict.
Gordon has resisted calls for his resignation from Gov. Lincoln Chafee, House Speaker Gordon Fox and others, and says he plans to participate in this month's special legislative session on pensions. State Rep. John Edwards, a Democrat whose district adjoins Gordon's, is collecting requests from Gordon's constituents for his expulsion.
Tim White contributed to this report. An earlier version said Gordon was demoted "shortly" before he was discharged.
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