U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, has apologized for misstating the name of an award he received while in the Navy, but there are other instances in the past few years wherein Kirk has embellished or fudged his service record, while stopping short of outright lying about it. In each instance, Kirk's statements have served to cast his record and his proximity to danger in a more, rather than less, heroic light: fostering the impression that he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and claiming he did a tour of duty in Afghanistan, when both are misleading.
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Some of Kirk's exaggerations were first documented in 2005 on the blog Nitpicker by an Afghanistan vet, and liberal, named Terry Welch. It was Welch who found the claim on Kirk's congressional website that Kirk was "the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." For a larger view click on this link to an archive of Kirk's site, or on this screengrab, which Welch saved in 2005: