By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – First Congressional District candidate Ron Dickey did wear a green beret during his stint as an Army cook – but never actually served in the elite, special forces group known to civilians as Green Berets.
The Horn Lake resident and liberal Democrat has spent recent days emphasizing his repeated claims as a “Green Beret veteran” remain accurate but need “clarification.” Dickey, a first-time candidate for office, worked as a cook during his three years of Army active duty ending in 1993, one of many support staff for the military branch’s special forces.
Dickey faces incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee and two other candidates in the November general election.
Dickey released a statement Thursday afternoon stating he never served in the special forces but did wear a “Green Beret as part of my uniform.”
The little-known candidate described his status on social media and in person as a “Green Beret veteran” until active duty and retired Green Berets began confronting Dickey online, emailing and calling his house wanting details of special forces service.
Dickey’s claim incensed the roughly 3,000-member Facebook group, Special Forces Posers Patrol, which confronts people who incorrectly identify themselves as members of the elite fighting group.
Dickey recently deleted his Facebook page where he had identified himself as a Green Beret veteran. His new social media page created lists his military service as a “food service specialist.”
“It was a generalized statement that was made in my bio,” Dickey said Thursday. “This is just something I need to clarify.”
Retired Sgt. Maj. George Davenport and Dickey both served in the 3rd Special Forces Company of about 1,500 soldiers at the time. Davenport and many other special forces soldiers make a solid distinction between the elite special forces and support staff such as cooks, mechanics and others who assisted but didn’t hold distinction.
“He was very clever in his way of making his claim in the way the normal public wouldn’t pick up on it,” Davenport said. “I think it’s intentional deception.”
More than issues with Green Beret status follow the former soldier. His background information previously posted online showed service in Operation Desert Storm. However, official military records show he served in Korea during military conflict.
William “Robb” Jewell of Houston, Texas, a former Army cook who served special forces soldiers in Operation Desert Storm, believes the inexperienced politician is “getting what he deserves.”
Dickey also has a pending federal Chapter 13 bankruptcy case that began in 2010. Among the financial issues, Dickey said knee surgery prevented him from working as a truck driver. Federal court filings show his debt as up to $50,000.
“I’ve been described as the poor man’s candidate,” he said.
See Dickey’s military and bankruptcy records below.