The Zinke Files #6: Military Record Exaggerated, Exploited for Disability


Did you know that Ryan Zinke was a Navy SEAL?

Just kidding. Of course, you did. It’s all he talks about.

“Hey, Ryan, what’s your position on…[interuppted by Ryan]…”Did you know I was a Navy SEAL?”

Yes, we get it. But do Montanans understand that during Zinke’s entire military career he was under suspicion and a cloud of judgment by his own commanders and his comrades? Joe Biden is a president but that doesn’t make him a good one. Titles are often times used as an excuse for real merit, and that’s the case with Ryan Zinke – who to our knowledge – never practiced typical SEAL offensive maneuvers and was often kept back by those in charge. We briefly discussed this in Zinke File #1.

Today’s Zinke File will include a more extensive explanation.

From the New York Times, 1/17/17, entitled Interior Nominee Promotes Navy Seal While Downplaying Bad Judgement, the news publication retrieved comment from Zinke’s commanding officer, Retired Vice Admiral M. McCalland III. It was not positive.

McCalland said of Zinke…

Prybas – another vice admiral – said that “Admiral Calland’s decision to cite Mr. Zinke for ”lapses in judgment” in failing to set a proper example was a red flag for boards screening officers for coveted command jobs. Even if a fitness report–essentially a performance evaluation–give stop marks in other areas, as Mr. Zinke’s did, ”language there like ‘hey, this officer has the questionable judgment,’ that would keep him from being selected for a command position.

Some of that questionable judgment was evident in Washington, which we revealed in Zinke Files #5, which highlighted his spending of taxpayer dollars like a drunken sailor (no pun intended). These performance reviews lead to Zinke never being promoted alongside his peers, who received far higher ranks. Prybas added…

‘But while he would have been eligible two or three times before he retired to be placed in charge of a unit as a commanding officer, he never was. And without serving as a commanding officer, he could not become a captain, which is equivalent to a colonel in the other services, and then an admiral, as some of his SEAL peers have.”

Former Navy Seal Commander, Larry Bailey, called out Zinke for stretching his pencil-pushing career as an active and participatory member of SEAL Team 6, and Montana Daily Gazette has already outlined Zinke having his hand slapped by fellow SEALs for claiming he had any role in the killing of bin Laden (which happened years after his retirement) in a fundraising letter.

“A former Navy officer who accused Republican U.S. House candidate and former Navy SEAL officer Ryan Zinke of misleading the public about his military record stood by his allegation.”

Note: It is not normal for military comrades to speak of one another in this way. Zinke made many enemies among his SEAL compatriots while in the service, and many do not support him, something the Montana public has not yet caught on to yet.

The Los Angeles Times reported in November of 2014 that Zinke has been living off of disability from the military despite dubious and “archaic” rules. Zinke was awarded an 80% disability rating in 2008, according to records released during the campaign. His disabilities include arthritis in his back, undiagnosed pain in all of his limbs, a strained wrist, tinnitus, a deviated septum and athlete’s foot. He has no purple hearts from his years pushing paper for the SEALs and no known injuries reported during his tenure there.

None of the two-thousand a month Zinke is receiving on top of his military retirement seems to have deterred him from a very, very active lifestyle in California that include wind-surfing, hiking, and running. In fact, Zinke has said, “I still run, but not quite like a used to.”

Does this sound like fiscal conservatism?

Does he look disabled to you?

A bevy of photographs can be seen with Zinke pulling sleds, engaging in ocean sports in his (real) home in Santa Barbara, rowing, running, using gym equipment, and all with no difficulty. In short, Zinke seems to be milking the system because of the average, ordinary (and undiagnosed) problems that men in their 50s and 60s get. As the LA Times pointed out, had it not been for his time in the service there is “no way” he would be awarded disability.


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