Tanner releases military service record

Joe Tanner, a Ridgefield Democrat running for the Board of Clark County Commissioners, released his DD-214 from the U.S. Navy on Monday.

Tanner released the record because two conservative bloggers, Lew Waters and Kelly Hinton, had questioned how Tanner earned combat medals, which Tanner mentions on his website.

Tanner, 65, joined the Navy in 1966. In a statement he provided along with the DD-214, he wrote that after he finished boot camp in San Diego he was assigned to the USS Providence CLG-6 (guided missile cruiser), which immediately deployed to Vietnam to serve as the flagship for the 7th fleet.

Tanner was honorably discharged April 3, 1970, after serving on active duty three years, eight months and 29 days and having participated in six combat campaigns in Vietnam.

“I was paid combat pay and exempted from income taxes for more than two years during this period,” he wrote. “As stated in my DD-214 discharge document, I was awarded the following medals for this service to the country: 1) National Defense Service Medal; 2) Vietnam Service Medal (six bronze stars); 3) Navy Unit Commendation; 4) Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and 5) Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Tanner reached the rank of ETN-2, electronic technician, second class petty officer. “I maintained communications equipment, including the encryption equipment used for communications between the ship and the other command centers,” he wrote. “I held a Top Secret Cryptographic clearance.” He said the Providence provided fire support and controlled air combat operations in Vietnam and received incoming fire.

Tanner said today that having Waters and Hinton question his military record was “disheartening” and politically driven. Tanner is running against Commissioner Tom Mielke, a Republican, and Democrat Ron Barca.

The government decides who is in combat, Tanner said.

Tanner represented the 18th Legislative District as both a representative and a senator in the 1980s. He was the first president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council and has spent the past 20 years as an executive in the private sector.

Here’s his DD-214


Here’s Tanner’s statement
Here’s the first link to information about USS Providence that Tanner referenced in his statement. Here’s additional details about the deployment and here’s what The Free Encyclopedia has to say.

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